Nightclubs must stay shut because ‘unpredictable dancing poses coronavirus risk’

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Nightclubs and other after dark venues where people sing and dance will remain firmly shut until there is a "long term way to deal with coronavirus " a minister has warned.

Tory Gillian Keegan did not offer a glimmer of hope to people working in the nighttime industries while speaking on Sky News this morning.

She told host Kay Burley: "It is hard to see how nightclubs will open until we have some kind of long-term way to deal with coronavirus.

"It's hard to keep your space if people are moving and you don't know how someone else is going to move."

Asked if she meant nightclubs would not start again until there is a vaccine, she replied: "It’s difficult to see – I’m not saying that, but I think it’s difficult to see how you could go to a nightclub within the rule of six.

"How can you socially distance and have a good time in a nightclub?

"I think it is difficult to see how we could keep coronavirus under control indoors in those kinds of situations, which is why they haven’t been opened yet."

The politician warned some jobs that don't "fit" with the virus could take a "may take a long time" to come back.

She defended the 10pm hospitality curfew and said many working within the industries hardest hit by the pandemic had been offered support with the furlough scheme.

Ms Keegan added: "We’ve had six months on furlough which has been there to try to protect those parts of the economy that can start moving again.

"It is clear that some of those jobs may take a long time to come back because they don’t fit with the virus."

  • Nightclubs luring punters for 12-hour benders from 10am to dodge 10pm curfew

From November 1, only "viable" jobs where someone will work at least a third of their hours will be backed by the scheme – and employers will have to chip in 55% of a worker's wages for just 33% of their hours.

It comes as the government was forced to u-turn over plans to sell booze within Parliament after the 10pm curfew.

The night-time economy accounts for around 8% of the UK's employment, bringing huge annual revenues of £66bn.

But nightclubs have been brought to their knees during the pandemic, with many operating huge overheads because of the size of their premises.

The Deltic Group, which owns 53 UK nightclubs and late-night bars, is haemorrhaging cash every second their venues stay closed.

Chief executive Peter Marks said: "I am burning through £600,000 a month on fixed costs.

"If I had been told I was going to be shut for so long six months ago, I would have had a very different plan.

"It's like being sat at the roulette table and every month I put another load of chips on, and every time I lose."

  • Pubs
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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