PM hints that rapid testing could be route to reopening nightclubs

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hints that rapid testing could be route to reopening nightclubs

Related tags Night time economy Coronavirus lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested the use of rapid testing could be the key to reopening the night-time economy.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference yesterday evening (15 February), Boris Johnson said lateral flow tests could be used by those parts of the economy the Government couldn't get open last year.

"That, in combination with vaccination, will probably be the route forward," he said.

However, the Prime Minister continued to stress that it is 'still early days' and there are lots of discussions still to be had.

Nightclubs have been shut ever since Coronavirus restrictions were first introduced in the UK last March.

Members of the night-time economy have welcomed the Prime Minister comments.

“Finally we have some acknowledgement from the Prime Minister and Government on the existence of late night economy businesses, including nightclubs, theatres, casinos and late bars, particularly as they are some of the hardest hit since the start of the pandemic," says Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association. 

“We have been lobbying Government with a strategy for the safe opening of these important cultural institutions for some time now, using lateral flow testing has been a consistent narrative.

"With this acknowledgement, we feel we will be given the opportunity to deliver pilot schemes which will substantiate the ability for this sector to open safely at the appropriate time, but more importantly we will be able to plan and prepare for that opportunity.”

Appearing on BBC News ​this morning (16 February), Greater Manchester's night time economy advisor Sacha Lord said he was relieved to finally hear Boris Johnson talking about the prospect of reopening nightclubs.

"I welcome [the Prime Minister's comments]," he said.

"We have had good conversations behind the scenes over the last five months, trying to give advice to the Government.

"As event organisers what we do is we create safe environments. We are regulated, we are licensed, and we cannot go ahead unless the authorities think it is safe to do so.

"This is what we set out many months ago. You have two options to get into these venues - either you have the vaccine, or you have a quick test on entry."

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