Wigan nightclub owner focussing on future after Covid passport decision

A Wigan nightclub owner says his business can now focus on returning to normal after the government scrapped the idea of Covid passports.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 12:51 pm
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 12:58 pm
Tony Callaghan says Covid passports would've been a difficult obstacle

Tony Callaghan believes any form of restriction would’ve been detrimental to the night-time industry, with his InnTheBar chain including Indiependance and Attic on King Street West.

Health secretary Sajid Javid announced the passport would no longer introduced this month due to the high uptake of vaccinations.

Mr Callaghan said: “I’m all for running safe venues and working with the authorities, but I was flabbergasted and confused when they tried to isolate the nightclub industry. The infrastructure and the IT wasn’t in place.

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Tony Callaghan's InnTheBar chain includes Indiependance and Attic

“I don’t know what the right decision is because I’m not a medical expert, but as someone who runs venues, another obstacle would have been difficult. I firmly believe they picked on us so then young people would get the vaccination.

“We can now get businesses back to normal. We’ve still got things in place, such as sanitising, to do what we can to stop the virus.”

The scheme would’ve required people to show proof of either a double vaccination, a negative Covid test or the completion of self isolation following a positive PCR test, in order to gain access to crowded events.

Mr Callaghan says nightclubs would’ve been unfairly treated by the introduction of this measure.

“They were putting the onus on us to check everyone, but nothing was in place, it would’ve been an utter nightmare and a shambles. I couldn't understand the difference between a very busy pub in the centre of Manchester and a nightclub in Wigan.

“If they were bringing it in, they would need to do it for any environment where there are large gatherings. People are still hesitant over going out, but I think once we get a little further along they will start to relax.”

Mr Callaghan remains fearful more hurdles could still be on the way heading towards the end of the year.

“No matter what you read, we are coming into the worst time of the year where bugs start to develop. My biggest concern and worry is that we end up in another lockdown in the winter, which would be disastrous. I hope the government has learnt its lessons.”

Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, and co-founder of the Parklife festival, is pleased the government has listened to the events and nightlife industry.

He said: “The plans were untenable and illogical and there were multiple factors which would have been discriminatory and legally questionable.”

“As a sector, we can now move forward, without hesitation or vague regulations."

"We have welcomed over 80,000 visitors to this weekend's Parklife Festival. Having been forced to cancel the festival last year due to Covid, it is a momentous weekend and a hugely positive step as we try to rebuild the events industry in the UK."