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The NTIA and a consortium of industry operators have published a ‘Nightclubs & Venue Opening Strategy’ setting out the case for a science-based, risk-assessed return to a Covid-secure opening of nightclubs and venues.
The report refers to a commissioned report by the Institute of Occupational Medicine, ‘Managing Covid-19 Risk in the UK Entertainment Industries Report 2020’, which demonstrates that the risk of Covid transmission can be reduced to the lowest practicable level through a competent risk assessment based on a hierarchy of control, and then strictly implementing the mitigation measures arising from the assessment.
The strategy states that there is no reason why the nightclub sector cannot be permitted to re-open with safe measures in place, including measures aimed specifically at fears around proximity and density. Furthermore, the strategy points at the increase in unregulated gatherings across the country including illegal raves as a strong argument to support reopening clubs with strict controls flowing from government guidance and individual risk assessments.
The strategy argues that nightclubs are able to provide the same barriers and mitigations to risk that both the retail sector and other elements of the hospitality sector can provide, with other sector specific measures that can be easily operated to ensure the safety of the sector is at least on par with others who are allowed to trade. Potential additional measures include thermal monitoring of guests on entry, restriction of capacity numbers overall and reduced numbers on dancefloors and a requirement to wear faces masks while dancing - managed by security staff.
The Institute of Occupational Medicine report ‘Managing Covid-19 Risk in the UK Entertainment Industries Report 2020’ was commissioned by the NTIA, Music Venue Trust, Festival Republic, Tokyo Industries, the Deltic Group and Proud Leisure. The report indicates general agreement with SAGE data and the Government response so far, while highlighting gaps in research including data about the ‘scale of impact of indoor, high density venues and events in how the virus is transmitted and spread’.
The study found no conclusive scientific evidence relating specifically to the entertainment industry and ‘no evidence that precludes the opening of any indoor or outdoor venue, provided a risk assessment is undertaken and control measures are in place’.