Fears over shortage of Wigan bouncers as Freedom Day approaches

Freedom Day could cause a crisis for Wigan’s night scene due to a shortage of qualified bouncers, it was claimed today.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 12:05 pm
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 12:06 pm

An industry insider told the Wigan Post that some licensees could struggle to observe the terms of their licence by providing enough door supervisors when all social distancing rules end and night clubs are finally allowed to re-open on July 19.

Because large parts of the night-time economy has been closed since the first lockdown since March last year, many door staff - as is the case with many other employees in the sector like bar workers and waiting staff - have gone off to find other jobs.

And there is nothing to say that sufficient numbers of them will come back.

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Pub boss Tony Callaghan

The source said: “Wigan’s night scene has got a real problem on its hands. There are some places whose licence requires them to have such-and-such a number of door supervisors and they are proving very hard to find.

“A lot have been forced to find alternative work during this long period when they weren’t needed and they have maybe taken a liking to what they are doing now.

“It makes you wonder what the club and pub owners will do if they were really desperate. You wouldn’t want to think that in order to stay open after so long not making any money they might cut corners and take on staff who aren’t qualified and properly certificated. This could spell a crisis.”

Julie Middlehurst, regulatory service manager at Wigan Council, said: “Individual premises are responsible for ensuring they operate safely, and should be reviewing their risk assessments as a result of any changes in Government legislation, guidance or restrictions.

“If a premises has a condition on their licence which requires them to have door supervisors, and they are struggling to employ sufficient numbers, they should contact the Licensing Team without delay to discuss this further.

“Officers from the Licensing Team and GMP will continue to visit licensed premises to ensure compliance.”

InnTheBar company boss Tony Callaghan who has several licensed premises in Wigan, acknowledged that there was a shortage of door staff, just like there was of all roles in the hospitality industry at present, but he didn’t think the issue was as drastic as a “crisis.”

He said: “There are a lot of people out there with the proper certification and badges, including most of my managers and the likes of those who work stadium security.

“A lot of those who have usually been on pub and club doors have had to find alternative work during the pandemic. I know a lot of them have been working at vaccination centres so I am hoping that when those operations wind down they will head back to their old jobs.

“You always get some bad eggs but it really is wrong and pointless to take on unregistered door staff because that could put you in breach of your licence and you end up not being able to trade.

“There may be people who choose to take risks. You always get people who take risks drink-driving or driving without insurance.

“But that said I don’t think the situation is as bad as to think there will be mass closures.”

He pointed out that licences for premises all have their own stipulations. Only some insist on there being door staff, the numbers dictated in part by the capacity of a place. Sometimes licensees choose to have staff on the door when the licence doesn’ t require them to do so.

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