Clubbing and Covid passports: balancing safety and civil liberties.

The Impending Controversy of Mandatory Vaccinations for Club Entry

On 19 July 2021, at 00:01, nightclubs in England were able to reopen after more than a year of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, soon clubbing will only be an option for those who have received two doses of a Covid vaccination. Earlier this week, the government announced that, from the end of September, people going to clubs and some other venues in England must be fully vaccinated. This decision has split opinions. Some, like 23-year-old Alice Pettitt, believe that it will protect vulnerable people, while others, like 29-year-old Greg Cashman, argue that it goes against their “civil liberties and freedoms.”

Alice, who used to go out three or four times a week before the pandemic, had a ticket to go to Fabric the night after the Euros final but was told by the NHS app that she needed to self-isolate. She has now decided to wait until she is fully vaccinated before she goes clubbing and thinks vaccine passports for nightclubs are a good idea. Alice feels that those unwilling to get vaccinated are putting vulnerable people at risk.

To gain entry to a club or other venues, people will need an NHS Covid pass. However, the latest figures show that 35% of 18 to 30-year-olds have not had their first jab. Greg, who hasn’t had a vaccination and doesn’t plan to get one, has tickets to the Ministry of Sound at the end of September. He believes that getting vaccinated is a personal choice and against his civil liberties and freedom.

Currently, it is not a legal requirement for clubbers to prove that they have had both jabs. So clubs don’t have to ask for proof of jabs. But that is set to change when the government’s new rules are introduced in September. Georgie Hodges, who is extremely clinically vulnerable and was shielding from March 2020 to May 2021, believes that people should be double vaccinated before going clubbing, but she says it should be accepted that some have “genuine health concerns for not wanting a vaccine.” She suggests that a negative test is perhaps a better way for people to gain entry to a club, rather than having to prove they are double vaccinated.

The possibility of vaccine passports has caused anger among the nightclub industry. There are concerns about a reduction in spontaneous consumers, and worries about being disadvantaged against pubs and bars that may not have the same requirements, according to Michael Kill, boss of the Night Time Industries Association. “80% of nightclubs have said they do not want to implement Covid passports, worrying about difficulties with enforcing the system,” he said this week.

In his announcement, Boris Johnson stated that the “end of September” plan for Covid passports in clubs was because it would give over-18s time to get double vaccinated. However, he didn’t rule out having to shut clubs down and said he was concerned about the continuing risk of transmission. “I don’t want to have to close nightclubs again as they have elsewhere. But it does mean nightclubs need to do the socially responsible thing,” said the Prime Minister. “We do reserve the right to mandate certification at any point if it’s necessary to reduce transmission.”


The impending controversy of mandatory vaccinations for club entry is a contentious issue that has divided public opinion. While some people argue that vaccine passports are necessary to protect vulnerable people, others believe that they infringe on their civil liberties and freedom of choice. There are also concerns among the nightclub industry about a potential reduction in spontaneous consumers and being disadvantaged against pubs and bars that may not have the same requirements. The decision to mandate vaccinations for club entry is not without its challenges, and the government needs to ensure that the implementation