Suffolk nightclub owners consider Covid passports for entry
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Three nightclub owners in Suffolk have said they are awaiting full government guidance before making a decision on whether to request proof of Covid vaccination from customers on entry.
Health secretary Sajid Javid announced in the house of commons on Monday that the government was going ahead with the final stage of its road map next week when England will enter its "new phase of continued caution" in living with coronavirus.
Mr Javid said businesses and large events will be encouraged to use the NHS Covid Pass to ask punters for proof they are double-jabbed or have tested negative for coronavirus, but that it would be "non-compulsory".
Leyla Edwards, who manages The Club in Ipswich, said she would be speaking to the council about potential Covid-19 checks at the door.
"It's something we'll be considering but until we know a little bit more about it, I don't want to frighten people and say it's a definite because I don't know too much about it," she said.
"I have had enquiries yesterday to the club, about the young people who have only had one vaccine and that it doesn't seem fair.
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"So obviously I've got to bear that in mind because I'm a big advocate for mental health and I know how much being out and dancing can help people's mental health.
"I'm going to get in contact with the council and get more information because it's still so new I'm not sure it's something we can enforce until I feel satisfied that I've explored all the options with it.
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"I'm going to cap capacity at less than we're allowed just for an extra level of safety. The younger generation have been stifled and I can see the pleasure on their face when they're allowed this freedom.
"Safety is number one and the priority for us but mental health comes a very close second for me, and I've got to decide what to do."
Wes Roper, owner of the new Verve Bar and Restaurant in Bury St Edmunds, also said the venue was currently exploring its options around Covid passes.
"It's something we're now looking into, the logistics and what we're legally obliged to check upon entry. Obviously we're doing track and trace at the moment," he said.
"The more checks the better I'd say because it mitigates us having to close, and obviously we don't want to close.
"Putting the onus on business owners like ourselves is quite time consuming and quite costly if I'm honest, it does mean we've got to have someone on the door at all times or have another doorman on just to make sure it all gets sorted.
"It's something we're quite keen to do I think if we can get the logistics right because ultimately it is going to be the way forward."
Beth Hurley, who manages Club Infinity in Sudbury, said: "I'm waiting to speak with licensing at the moment. The guidance has just been released and we're working through what's feasible and what isn't for public safety and the economy side of the business.
"It's difficult. You do have to be sensible about it, and protect the communities as well as give them what they've been missing."