City bar owner tells clubbers: 'Turn off Covid app'
- Credit: Sophie Wyllie
A nightclub and bar owner is encouraging clubbers to ditch the Covid app to prevent the pingdemic spread.
Andre Smith opened Cans 'N' Cocktails, in Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, on July 2.
And now he has taken the controversial step of putting up posters in the window of his bar asking punters to switch off the test and trace app before they enter to avoid people getting pinged on the dancefloor.
"The pingdemic is causing a bigger issue than Covid itself," he fumed. "We are being encouraged to get back to normal and to learn to live with Covid, yet the minute we do we're all being pinged to go home for 10 days.
"The isolating staff after a ping are impacting all walks of life from transport workers to NHS staff to food production.
"We won't be forcing people to turn the app off but we want people to enjoy being out without worrying about being locked up at home."
Mr Smith, 32, claimed the poster was "tongue in cheek" and said he has received messages of support on social media.
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The club owner has also reassured people the bar - with a capacity of 500 across a whole night - was kept clean and all staff, including himself, had received one or two vaccines and took weekly lateral flow tests.
He added: "I support the vaccine but I support freedom of choice. We are a nightclub not an authoritarian body. There will be outbreaks and individuals will have to take necessary precautions.
"We have to live with Covid. We don't have to put caveats on who can enjoy themselves."
The business owner said Boris Johnson's plans to introduce vaccination passports for nightclubs in September would force many nightclubs to close because many 18-24 year olds would not yet be double jabbed and the industry was already "on its knees".
Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis said: "I understand why organisations are being forced into these situations. The government's recklessness has brought about a moral quagmire.
"The government has kicked the can down the road to individuals struggling to make decisions for themselves and the community."
Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk's director of public health, has urged people to follow government advice.
A Norwich City Council spokesperson said they could not comment and the government has been approached.