Nightclub staff need a Covid Pass to work
On Wednesday 15 December 2021, the rules on entering certain venues and events changed, meaning some settings must carry out Covid status checks to all customers aged 18 and over as a condition of access. These settings include nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques; as well as, other late night dance venues, where all of the following apply: The venue is open between 1am-5am; it serves alcohol after 1am; it has a dancefloor (or space for dancing); and it provides music, whether live or recorded, for dancing.
Conditional entry will also apply to indoor events with 500 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions; Outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals; and events with 10,000 or more attendees, whether indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events.
All over 18s must be able to show proof of Covid status or they will be denied entry. The acceptable forms of evidence are a valid NHS Covid Pass; an acceptable alternative proof of vaccination, clinical trial participation or medical exemption – e.g. international equivalents of the NHS Covid Pass; or, proof of a negative Covid test taken within the last 48 hours– e.g. text or email confirmation from NHS Test and Trace.
The government has outlined that, whilst Covid status checks are not mandatory for workers, organisations should take reasonable steps to make sure that all adults working or providing services in customer-facing roles (as an employee, contractor or volunteer), show evidence via one of the methods outlined above. Venue managers are strongly advised to deny entry to any worker who fails to provide proof of vaccination/exemption or a recent Covid test. In practice, this means checking that the proof they have is valid.
Employers should update their workforce on these changes and ask for a copy of their NHS Covid Pass (or international equivalent). Workers who don’t have an NHS Covid Pass should be reminded to take a Covid test no later than 48 hours before the start of their shift and be able to confirm a negative result through a text or email from NHS Test and Trace. Employers will need to have a monitoring system in place to ensure their workers meet the evidence requirements for each shift.
Workers who can’t provide proof of vaccination or a recent test can be sent home with no pay, since they are not making themselves ready and available for work. However, reasonable adjustments should be made for those who are exempt from vaccination and/or testing.
Whilst workers may be unwilling or unable to get the Covid vaccine for varying reasons (e.g. due to pregnancy, race, religion etc), it’s unlikely that many will have reasonable grounds for refusing testing. As such, a request to provide proof of a negative Covid test can be treated as a reasonable management instruction.
Employers within affected settings should communicate these new requirements with staff members as soon as possible and make them aware that immediate unpaid leave may be enforced for those who don’t comply.