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DISSAPOINTED: Nightclub owners react with dismay to lockdown easing delay

DISSAPOINTED: Nightclub owners react with dismay to lockdown easing delay

Nightclub owners have described the delay in ending coronavirus restrictions as a “kick in the teeth”.

The industry had geared up for a full reopening on June 21, but Boris Johnson announced on Monday rules would remain in place for up to another four weeks in England.

It means nightclubs, which have been closed since March last year, will remain shuttered.

Terry George owns Club Mission in Leeds and said the “frustrating” delay made it feel as though nightclubs were being “penalised”, adding: “It just doesn’t seem fair at all.”

He told the PA news agency he has “lost faith” in the Government, which announced the 30-person cap for wedding ceremonies and receptions, as well as wakes, will be lifted.

Mr George said: “It makes me want to open a venue to perform marriages and say that we’re having a wedding and get people in that way. We don’t want to go through the back door, we want to play with the rules but it’s making it so difficult.

“People are so frustrated, people can’t get back into the normal swing of things. I think really we should be living with this and dealing with it. Just putting it back and putting it back and putting it back – we’ve lost faith in what the Government is telling us.

“They tell us one thing and then three, four days later they change their mind and it all goes to pot. We just can’t run a business this way. I don’t think we can be trusting the Government.”

Adrian Swain, who oversees Brighton’s PRYZM nightclub along with other venues in the south of England, said the delay to reopening is a “kick in the teeth” for the industry.

Mr Swain told the PA news agency: “It feels catastrophic for us to be honest because we have done so much work in the last four weeks preparing to open in full.

“We absolutely wanted a prescribed date – with the uncertainty and the ambiguity it’s a really difficult one to plan for.”

The normally-busy nightclub, located just a few hundred yards from Brighton Pier, had been set to host a reopening celebration on June 21 with many tickets already sold out.

Tom Caulker has run World Headquarters in Newcastle for 28 years.

He said he has come close to losing the popular nightspot several times in the 16 months it has been closed.

He fully supported extending lockdown measures to keep the public safe, saying he wanted no-one to contact Covid-19 simply by visiting his club.

But he expressed his anger at the Government, saying it had put people at risk, and delayed lockdown easing, by not acting fast enough when the new delta variant started to spread in India.

Asked about the expected announcement that nightclubs would not be allowed to reopen on June 21, Mr Caulker said: “I am gutted, we have worked really hard to get back.

“It’s going to be 16 months of not earning a single penny.

“The Government said it would be June 21, I questioned the council in webinars and we were told it was definitely going ahead.

“We are getting seven days notice that it won’t be June 21 – it’s a real inconvenience for us.

“We have staff hired, a new management team in place and we have got the place ready, so this is a major kick in the teeth.”

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