After last month’s false start in the U.K. reopening timeline, social distancing guidelines affecting nightlife will be lifted on July 19th. COVID-19 case counts remain on the rise, however, so lawmakers have suggested that organizers require entrants to get an NHS COVID Pass.
The Monday guidance encouraged promoters of larger, “high-risk” events to implement the system – it is not mandated by law. The passes are available to those 16 and older who have either been fully vaccinated, tested negative for COVID-19 within the past 48 hours, or tested positive within the six months prior. The statement did not specify what constitutes a high-risk event.
The long-awaited reopening arrives amid a worldwide surge in cases triggered by the emergence of the Delta variant of the virus. The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.K. itself recorded a seven-day average of 32,600 on Monday, a 69% increase over the average posted on June 30th.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged that the current spread of the virus means that future lockdowns remain a possibility. “We want people to remember that this thing, this pandemic, is not over,” he said in a press conference. “We must proceed in a cautious way.”
The full guidance for the July 19th reopening is available on the U.K. government website.