Revellers could be made to wear face masks under proposed safety measures to allow nightclubs to reopen, the industry has said.
Mandatory face coverings and restricted numbers on dance floors are among the proposals, which could lead to venues reopening after being closed for months because of coronavirus.
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said clubbers could also have their temperatures checked before they enter venues.
It said clubs reopening could provide a safer space for music lovers to gather and help bring an end to unregulated raves – police in Birmingham broke up 70 illegal parties on Saturday night.
Last week, the organisation, which represents owners of nightclubs, bars and live music venues, warned the industry faces “financial armageddon” within the next two months unless it receives increased government support.
The NTIA said 754,000 jobs could be lost in the sector as a result of venue closures introduced to fight the spread of COVID-19.
However, it said a risk-assessed return for clubs and venues is possible as the sector reaches a “critical point”, with thousands of jobs at risk.
The association said the night-time economy was one of the few remaining sectors without any clear path to reopening and has urged the government to “save the sector from collapse”.
The NTIA said three out of five businesses could go bust by September and the new report, supported by the Institute of Occupational Medicine, looked at how clubs and other venues could reopen safely.
The report said there is a “strong argument” for permitting clubs to reopen under strict controls, “bearing in mind the behaviour we are witnessing in unregulated environments such as beaches, parks and raves”.
It added: “Whilst there are some areas of increased risks over other sectors there are many real beneﬁts that such businesses have over other sectors, particularly as all our venues have security to give 100% cover of matters such as temperature checks, track and trace and keeping customer behaviour in check.”
There are also “sector-speciﬁc measures” venues can put in place that would put them “at least on a par” with other businesses that are allowed to open, the report said.
These include adding temperature checks for guests when they enter, and restricting capacity to ensure distancing is possible throughout the venue.
“Use of face coverings on the dance floor can be implemented and enforced through existing security staff and protocols,” it added.
Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, said: “We have now reached a critical point.
“In the absence of a clear reopening strategy from government, or the promise of financial support, huge numbers of businesses within our industry are facing financial collapse and thousands of job losses.
“The report we have launched today clearly shows that there is a case for the safe reopening of night-time leisure venues, including nightclubs, late-night bars, live-music venues and event spaces.
“Whilst many of these are large-capacity venues, it is important to note that they already have many of the safety protocols in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“We implore the government to give us the opportunity to reopen in a safe, risk-assessed way.”
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