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Prime minister Boris Johnson said today, 15 February, that lateral flow Covid-19 testing could be used to get nightclubs and venues reopened.

Speaking during the evening Downing Street briefing, Johnson said, “We are thinking of a [reopening] route that relies on mass vaccinations, we intend to vaccinate all the adults in the county by the autumn, plus lateral flow testing, or rapid testing, for the toughest nuts to crack such as nightclubs or theatres – those parts of the economy we couldn’t get open last year.

“That will be the route that we go down and we are already seeing lots of businesses using rapid on-the-day testing. That in combination with vaccinations will probably be the route forward but it is still early days and there are lots of discussions still to be had.”

Having warned earlier in the day that Government had left night time economy businesses on a “cliff edge” over commercial rent debt, with more than 88% of nightclub businesses being at least two quarters of rent in debt, Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill welcomed Johnson’s reference to the sector.

Said Kill, “Finally we have some acknowledgement from the prime minister and Government on the existence of late night economy businesses, they are some of the hardest hit since the start of the pandemic”

“We have been lobbying Government with a strategy for the safe opening of these important cultural institutions for some time now, using lateral flow testing has been a consistent narrative, and feel know with this acknowledgement we will be given the opportunity to deliver pilot schemes which will substantiate the ability for this sector to open safely at the appropriate time, but more importantly we will be able to plan and prepare for that opportunity.”