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The difference between a bar and a nightclub as Covid passes introduced

The Welsh Government guidelines have described what constitutes a nightclub for the purposes of Covid passes.

Covid Pass holders will be required to show their passes at nightclubs in Wales starting Monday at 7am.

But what about venues that have a dancefloor, or are nightclubs at certain times? And when does a pub or bar that plays music become a nightclub?

The regulations say a nightclub would be somewhere:

  • Authorised for the sale or supply of alcohol
  • Where live or recorded music is provided for members of the public or members of the venue to dance, including nightclubs, discotheques and dance halls
  • Which are open at any time between midnight and 5am

It means that venues will have to ask – and customers will need to show – a Covid Pass at any time if they are open and providing music for people to dance.

The only exception is if a nightclub (or similar venue) is open but not playing music for people to dance. It doesn’t matter what time it is, if there is music being played for dancing, and not background music, the regulations have to be followed.

In the lead-up to Christmas, for example, when a DJ plays music for Christmas parties in the afternoon, the regulations come into force.

Also considered are the hours of operation of the venue. If it closes at 11pm – before the midnight deadline specified in the regulations – music can be played for dancing and people would not be required to show their Covid Passes.

Introducing the policy ahead of a chaotic vote in the Senedd on Tuesday, health minister Eluned Morgan said: “We haven’t taken the decision to introduce such measures lightly. Where we know that the rates amongst those under 25 are around 1,000 per 100,000 people, and that this age group is the most likely to attend some of these venues, in particular nightclubs.

“We are taking these measures to support venues to stay open and enable events to continue taking place through a potentially very difficult and challenging autumn and winter. Keeping these venues open is not an easy decision in the light of such high Covid rates.”

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