COVID19: Nightclubs want to open with electronic IDs

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Shuttered for almost a year, nightclub owners are pressuring the government to let them open by 16 March to recoup lost earnings due to coronavirus measures.

Nightclub owners have proposed strict health protocols while also tabling innovative solutions to minimise the risk of transmission within venues.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily on Tuesday, the President of the Cyprus Association of Entertainment Establishments, Nicos Vassiliou, said there are meetings with the Health, Finance and Labour Ministries to work out how nightclubs could reopen.

He argued that delaying the reopening of clubs would deliver a hammer blow to businesses.

Vassiliou said officials told him that clubs would be allowed to reopen once the vaccination rollout had covered 20% of the population.

The association says clubs were the first to close and are the last to reopen, while malls, shops and offices are in business.

Vassiliou revealed the association is in consultation with the Deputy Ministry of Innovation to find innovative ways of minimising the risk of transmission in nightclubs.

It is proposed that people be allowed into clubs only if they have had a COVID test within the previous 72 hours.

Vassiliou said this could be monitored by introducing a smartphone application called Liberty Pass, used in other countries to allow entry to indoor mass gatherings, such as weddings, cinemas, and clubs.

“This smart application will essentially be an Electronic Health Identity, which will collect the results of rapid antigen tests, molecular tests (PCR) and vaccines.

“A QR code will identify each user, and if negative to COVID, a green emblem will appear, which will last 72 hours and allow that person to enter a nightclub or other gatherings,” said Vassiliou.

After 72 hours, the “Liberty Pass” will expire, and the holder will have to take a new negative result to continue to have free access to such venues.

If the holder has been vaccinated, then the Free Health ID will last as long as the vaccine provides protection based on medical data.

The Innovation Ministry is looking into whether the introduction of such smart applications could be applied.