Bouncers demand illegal boat ravers delete NHS track and trace app before boarding
Dozens of people crammed themselves into an illegal rave where the NHS’s track and trace app was banned by promoters.
The illicit club night, which took place in North London last week, was advertised to punters over WhatsApp.
A message sent to ravers on the day gave the location – which appeared to be on a boat – and a stringent list of rules.
Fairly typical for a club night were restrictions on entry after 12am, the consumption of ‘illegal substances’ on site and bringing alcohol from off the premises in.
Less typical were provisions designed to hinder the government’s efforts to track coronavirus infections and stop the deadly disease’s spread.
“You must (have) deleted trace and test NHS App,” the message reads.
“If you haven’t before you (have) reached the location you will get banned as you will cause serious trouble to us.”
Another rule warns: “Staff will put a sticker on your mobile phone’s camera upon entry.
“Removing the sticker and/or recording any footage in or outside the venue will result in (you) being kicked out with no chance of re-entry.”
The government’s Covid-19 App has been hailed as a crucial part of the effort to stem the spread of the virus, despite difficulties with its launch.
If the app was in use at the rave, people who came in close contact with an infectious person would be alerted, and then could isolate and be able to protect others.
Mike Gill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, believes that such events are inevitable – despite promoters now facing £10,000 fines if they’re caught – if ravers are given no other outlet during the difficult months ahead.
From his perspective, reopening licensed clubs in a moderated form with track and trace procedures in place could help avoid more illegal raves from popping up.
“We have seen the lift in unregulated events, like house parties that then escalate,” he told Mirror Online.
“These environments are transmission hot beds.
“Some of these illegal parties will move into buildings like warehouses and other vacant buildings as the winter draws in.
“What is safer – to have people in these buildings that are built to be Covid safe, which have the safety mechanisms in place, or for people to pop up in a warehouse?”
Mr Gill said people’s desire to go on night’s out could not be stifled, regardless of pub and bar curfews, and so should be managed in an above board way.
“It’s like expecting students to not want to go out for freshers,” he added.
As well as potentially offering an alternative outlet for ravers, allowing the night time economy to operate in some form may prove a lifeline to an industry on its knees.
Martin Cullen, who runs Rockstar Promotions, recently found himself suddenly bursting into tears due to the sheer stress of his situation.
Over the past 16 years he has worked flat out to build his business, which runs student nights on behalf of universities.
When the lockdown came into force in March his income streams dried up immediately, forcing him to furlough all of his staff.
Once that scheme finishes at the end of this month, Rockstar Promotions will not be viable for help under the new Winter Economy Plan – which requires businesses to be operating to receive help.
He said: “It’s catastrophic for us. We’re staring down the barrel with no support on the horizon.
“I don’t want charity, I want to be able to work.
“What would be helpful and nice would be a constructive discussion with the industry about how we work together and get through this.”
He added: “We will have to let some staff go when furlough ends.
“There is a scenario when this drags on for more than six months, then we might find ourselves where we can’t keep hanging on.”
Mr Cullen said that the industry, which is worth £70billion in the UK, was “very viable”.
“But it’s not now because of the restrictions the government has put in for the greater good of the country,” he continued.
“If I could I would ask Rishi Sunak to provide a route to a discussion around how we can keep going.
“It feels like we have just been thrown on the scrap heap.”
Mr Gill gave a bleak prediction for the future of the industry if things don’t change.
“There were 1,600 night clubs before Covid-19,” he said.
“I can see us losing three quarters of them by the end of the year.
“Does the government recognise the position it’s putting these people in?
“Some people have their houses guaranteeing their clubs.”
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