While it all depends on how well the UK is faring corona-wise at the time, Johnson hinted at nightclub reopenings last week when he said that rapid turnaround lateral flow tests could be used to test those in club queues in order to make the club a pandemic-free zone.
“That, in combination with vaccination, will probably be the route forward,” Johnson said at the time.
If the reopening of clubs do hinge on quick covid tests, Henry Lay, venue manager of London club FIRE, tells Glamour that it could offer ‘big complications’ in how clubs operate that process.
“If someone who is taking the test is positive does that then mean the whole bubble of people around them will contract it despite testing negative?,“ Lay questions. “Conditions of entry are already so strict with ID, bag searches, pat down, etc so adding another aspect will be challenging.”
Lay says he can’t see nightlife in the UK being back to normal until 2022 – but even then he doesn’t feel like it will be as it used to.
He adds: “I am honestly unsure of how large operators will fare once we reopen. Such as will the confidence from the guest still be there, or will guests be put off congregating in large crowds?”
Lay, who hasn’t been able to work since clubs shut in March last year, adds that he expects safety precautions to be of ‘paramount’ importance.
“I don’t see any realistic way of upholding social distancing as it’s just not that kind of environment so I hope that a vaccine passport or something similar could be the answer,” Lay continues.
He suggests, as an operator, encouraging all staff to keep to themselves, wearing face masks, regularly hand sanitising and deep cleaning often too.
“The same would go for all front line staff such as security who at times as per their job description may have to interact with guests very closely,” he adds.
For nightclubs to reopen on June 21, the fourth stage of Johnson’s roadmap will have to be put in place – but the Prime Minister has emphasised that the government will be led by ‘data, not dates’.
They key benchmarks the government would have to reach is for the vaccine programme to continue successfully; for there to be evidence that show vaccines are reducing hospitalisations and deaths; for infection rates not to put pressure on hospitals and for no new variants of the virus to arise.
In the meantime, we’ll play music and dance around our living room as much as we please.