Britain’s struggling nightclubs industry today urged the government to come up with a plan to get them back open before they go bust at a cost of thousands of jobs.
Last month, as Boris Johnson eased measures on offices, public transport and leisure centres, he ruled out reopening nightclubs and gave no hints as to how or when they might reopen.
Today, trade association UK Hospitality expressed its frustration at the continued lack of communication about their fate.
UK Hospitality said it wrote to Culture Minister Oliver Dowden on 29 July seeking clarification on the government’s plans for nightclubs and stated its concern about the lack of guidance and “precarious” position nightclubs were in. It warned of huge job losses if they were to remain closed.
However, it has still not received any answers.
Peter Marks, chief executive of the Deltic Group of nightclubs, owner of the Ocean and Pryzm chain of clubs, said: “Much of the rest of the sector has been permitted to open, but nightclubs are still closed.
“The clubbing season in the UK traditionally begins to get busy in September, so we are now less than one month away from a potentially make or break period.”
He said the industry had offered up “science-backed” plans to make clubs safe for customers and staff, including improved ventilation and “minimal touch points”. “But the government is keeping us closed.”
Scientists, however, have warned that the spread of Covid is currently among the fastest among younger people. Outbreaks like the one in Preston have been spreading particularly rapidly among the under-30s.
However, UK Hospitality chief Kate Nicholls argued that clubs needed guidance about their future: “Each day that passes feels like a day closer to more business failures and job losses, without any plan to inform business planning.
“Venues are in limbo, uncertain of when, or even if, they will be able to re-open their doors. Keeping people in the dark helps nobody.”