Clubbers could be made to wear masks under plans to reopen nightclubs

Clubbers could be made to wear face masks and numbers will be restricted on dancefloors under plans to reopen nightclubs as industry chiefs warn thousands of jobs are at riskNight Time Industries Association says risk-assessed return for clubs is possible Association says sector is reaching ‘critical point’ with thousands of jobs at riskNight-time economy is one of few sectors without any clear path to reopeningIndustry bosses have urged the Government to ‘save the sector from collapse’By Mark Duell for MailOnline Published: 06:56, 24 August 2020 | Updated: 06:57, 24 August 2020 Restricting numbers on the dancefloor and making clubbers wear face-coverings are among the suggested safety measures which should lead to clubs being allowed to reopen, it was claimed today.The Night Time Industries Association 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’.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’. A member of bar staff wears a face mask while serving drinks at an East London pub in JulyIt 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 per cent 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. Revellers queue outside Rosies nightclub in Birmingham on March 14, shortly before lockdown ‘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.’ Meanwhile a survey by the Night Time Industries Association Scotland (NTIAS) of its membership to assess the impact of Covid-19 after the lockdown on March 23 revealed that 83 per cent of businesses are set to make staff redundant. Up to 76 per cent are ready to make more than half of their workforce redundant within a matter of weeks, while 58 per cent of businesses fear they will not survive longer than two months without further Government support.As little as 19 per cent of respondents said they have been able to repurpose their businesses.Mike Grieve, owner of SubClub in Glasgow and director of NTIAS, concert promoter Donald Macleod, owner of The Garage and Cathouse Rock Club in Glasgow, and Geoff Ellis, of DF Concerts, called on the Scottish Government to provide emergency funding.The NTIAS s now calling for an extension of the UK Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.Michael Kill, NTIAS chief executive, has called for an indication of when late night premises can reopen and believes no further financial assistance after October could be ‘potentially fatal for the future of the night-time economy’.Mr Kill said: ‘Without immediate additional help and clear indication of when we can reopen we are facing financial Armageddon. I implore the Government to act on this data.’Give us a clear roadmap on when businesses can re-open and reassurance that the financial support will be there to keep businesses financially afloat in the coming months.’

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