According to the new rules which are requiring people to have Covid passports to enter nightclubs in England will come into force in a week’s time, the government has said.
On the other hand, The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said it would have a “devastating impact” on the sector.
It also questioned whether the move was an attempt to distract attention from a “damaging story about the Downing Street Christmas party”.
Number 10 was approached for comment.
New coronavirus rules will come into force coming week which include a recommendation for people to work from home, as well as Covid certification to enter large venues and clubs.
The guidance to work from home will apply from Monday 13 December, while the ruling on clubs will come into force on Wednesday 15 December.
Covid passes, which are implemented in Scotland and Wales, have caused a 30% and 26% drop-off in trade respectively, NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said.
“Vaccine passports will have a devastating impact on a sector already so bruised by the pandemic,” Mr. Kill said.
A government report in June found that vaccine passports could have effects including discouraging people from attending venues. It concluded that, at the time, the impact of bringing them in would be out of proportion to the general public health benefits.
Given that, Mr. Kill questioned the timing and rationale of the govt move.
There has been public anger over reports of a Christmas party at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s London residence Number 10 Downing Street on 18 December last year, when such gatherings were illegal.
Mr. Kill questioned whether introducing Covid passports was “sound evidence-based public policy-making, or is this an attempt to move the news agenda on from a damaging story about the Downing Street Christmas party?”
He added: “Nightclubs and bars must not be thrown under the bus for the Prime Minister to save his own skin.
“And of course these businesses, who have already sacrificed so much during the pandemic, will be asking: ‘Why are we being asked to carry more of the burden when it seemed that the most senior government officials felt they didn’t need to do their bit?'”
Nightclub operator Rekom, which has more than 40 venues across the UK, said it was “disappointed, but sadly not surprised” by the government move.