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Nightclubs in England will reopen without restrictions, PM announces

Most COVID restrictions in England currently planned to be lifted on 19th July

Nightclubs in England will be able to operate at full capacity, with no restrictions in place from 19th July — pending confirmation of stage four of lockdown easing next Monday (12th July) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.

In a press conference today (5th July), Johnson announced the parameters for the next stage of its roadmap out of lockdown, with almost all COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, including the obligation to wear masks, social distancing and restrictions on gatherings. He didn’t confirm the date for reopening during the press conference, but described the chances of it remaining as the delayed date of 19th July as likely.

Clubs and festivals in England will be able to operate without restriction, with no proof of vaccination required for attendees. The news comes after it was reported last week that Michael Gove, the Cabinet minister leading a review on COVID-19 vaccination passports, allegedly believed it would be “too much hassle” for health checks to be required prior to entry into venues. Clubs, pubs, restaurants and theatres will still be able to voluntarily adopt vaccine certification for entry. 

While there will no longer be any requirement for people to sign in with the NHS app in venues, attendees will be encouraged to do so. A spokesperson for the PM said, it’s a “good thing to do to support contact tracing but as more people are allowed into venues without booking, it becomes more challenging operationally.”

Johnson emphasised that this isn’t the time for people to get “demob happy”, saying everyone needs to remain cautious due to the rising infections of the virus, but wants to encourage individuals to take personal responsibility for suppressing Covid rather than sticking to “government diktat”. The prime minister’s announcement comes as cases continue to rise across the UK, with 27,334 new cases being reported today.

Fully vaccinated individuals will also no longer be required to isolate upon returning from countries on the UK’s amber travel list. One of the only rules to remain in place will be the requirement to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. 

Speaking at the press conference, Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Adviser to the UK Government, explained that, despite there being a need for some degree of social distancing to remain in place, there are clear advantages to easing lockdown during the summer months rather than in autumn. This is due to the additional pressures that the NHS faces alongside Covid admissions during colder months.

Read our recent feature on whether clubs can really reopen on 19th July here.