Clubbers could wear face masks on dance floor to allow nightclubs to reopen

Nightclub owners have urged the government to let them reopen, saying that thousands of jobs are at risk.

They put forward ideas to allow this to happen safely, including asking people to wear face masks.

Numbers of people on the dancefloor could also be restricted, while clubbers could have a temperature test on arrival.

The Night Time Industries Association said a risk-assessed return for clubs and venues is possible as the sector reaches a ‘critical point’.

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’.

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Last week the association said three out of five businesses could go bust by September and a new report, supported by the Institute of Occupational Medicine, looks at how clubs and other venues could reopen safely.

The report said there is a ‘strong argument’ to permit 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’ which venues can put in place which would put them “at least on a par” with other businesses which are allowed to open.

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 dancefloor can be implemented and enforced through existing security staff and protocols,’ it added.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the association, 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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