Boris Johnson has announced that from July 4th, hotels, pubs, libraries and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen in the UK, but nightclubs will remain closed.
The Prime Minister confirmed in a press conference yesterday that nightclubs, among other places like nail salons, gyms and pools, will not be reopening for the foreseeable future, as they pose too much of a risk to public health.
The announcement follows the UK Home Office’s three-step plan for phasing out lockdown, which stated that “premises whose core purpose is social interaction (such as nightclubs)” might only be able to open at a later date, “depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.”
Reports of a UK government leak in the Times last week provided an optimistic glimpse into the restarting of the UK’s nightlife. The article indicated that nightclubs might be allowed to reopen with an “entry check”, involving hand sanitisation and a temperature check at the door and a socially-distanced queuing system. However, it specified that “dance floors are a particularly “challenging area to operate under any form of physical-distancing requirements” and that clubs are unlikely “to reopen any time soon.”
The government is particularly cautious about reopening nightclubs because of their high risk of coronavirus transmission. Bars and nightclubs in Seoul were ordered to close indefinitely in May, after a spike in coronavirus cases in the city’s Itaewon district.
A survey by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) shows the UK industry has serious concerns about the post-lockdown landscape. According to the report, business owners and operators are “concerned” that reduced venue capacity will make nightclubs “financially unreliable”. As well as this, many find the government’s social distancing measures incompatible with nightclubs, which rely on a “social engagement business model”