Owner of popular Chesterfield nightclub reacts to Boris Johnson’s ‘Plan B’ Covid restrictions

The owner of a nightclub in Chesterfield town centre said that new restrictions to halt the spread of the Omicron variant were a blow to the nightlife industry during the festive season.

By Tom Hardwick
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 12:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 12:59 pm
Customers wanting to enter Vibe and other nightclubs will need to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.

As of Wednesday, December 15, customers wanting to enter nightclubs will need to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. Giacchino Livoti, owner of Vibe nightclub, said these measures would hamper his business, with potential customers being put off nightlife venues for a number of reasons.

“We expect that there will be a negative impact on the business. Of course there’s a number of people who won’t be vaccinated and there is another group of people who won’t have the NHS app installed.

“There’s a third group of people, a latent group, who we think will be turned off and frightened of going out, and because of that, we expect there will be a deterioration in trade.”

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Mr Livoti said it was difficult to continually change the way his business operates to meet new rules, and that these restrictions would impact the industry over the crucial festive period.

“It’s an exhaustion almost, from constantly having to change your business model or your business operations to meet whatever new regulations are coming out, and then having met them, for them to be changed and then having to adjust a second time around.

“As you know, in the hospitality trade, a significant part of its annual income happens in December and the new year. Having that degree of turnover affected by these regulations is going to be a very tough thing to take.

“It’s a constant attrition of energy and time. You expect that to a degree, but when it's done on a continuous basis for almost two years, it can be really debilitating to how you’re running a business.”

Mr Livoti said he was preparing to make the transition to ‘Plan B’ as seamless as possible for customers, integrating a facial recognition system at Vibe to try and avoid long queues of people showing their Covid passes.

“We’ve invested in a facial recognition system, so that means when people show their Covid passport once, with their agreement, we will recognise their face and they can jump the queue by using the facial recognition entry system- this will smooth the friction at entry points during peak demand.

“The whole concept of doing lateral flow tests on entry is extremely difficult, but if needed, we will try it and see how it goes. The issue is, if people have to wait for 15 or 30 minutes to do the test, where will they wait- do you have huge queues of people going down the street waiting for the tests?

“People can bring their own lateral flow tests they’ve done at home, do one on site, or bring ones from other venues- we will provide some follow up to make sure they’ve done those.”

Although he has begun to expect a return to lockdown measures in 2022, Mr Livoti said he believed that Vibe would battle through the rest of the pandemic.

“Everybody seems to be of the opinion that another lockdown is coming in the new year.

“I am optimistic in us getting through this- but I’m not optimistic that we will avoid another shutdown.”