A rebellious nightclub owner has urged partygoers to turn off the NHS Covid app to stop the ‘pingdemic’ ruining their fun.
Andre Smith, 32, said that people should be free to dance the night away in his club without the worry of a possible ten-day self-isolation period looming over them.
Andre has put up posters outside his three-storey club, which can hold up to 400 people, advising people to turn off the NHS app.
One poster shows a picture of the NHS Covid app with a large red cross over the top and states ‘Please disable before entering’.
‘Please disable before entering’
Andre said that his nightclub – Cans ‘N’ Cocktails in Norwich, Norfolk – should be a “fun, friendly and safe place”.
He said: “We don’t want people to feel burdened by going out. People should be comfortable and enjoy going out.
“Don’t live in fear. This virus is going to be around us every day.
“We want the club to be a fun, friendly and safe place.
“Someone could come out this weekend and come into contact with someone who has Covid and they’ll have to stay at home for days even if they test negative.
“The ‘pingdemic’ is having a greater impact on the global supply chain and labour than the epidemic itself.
“Our whole approach is the freedom of choice, it’s about personal choice.”
Andre was speaking after a record 618,903 people in England were ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app from July 8 to July 15.
He added that he does not support a government plan to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs from September.
Andre said: “We don’t think it’s right that people should be forced to have vaccines to come in. It should be a choice.
“We don’t have to have vaccines to go on the bus or go to Tesco.”
Andre clarified that turning off the NHS Covid app, which alerts people when they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, is not a condition of entry at the club.
Andre’s club, which he co-owns with a business partner, is brand new in Norwich and opened for the first time as a bar on July 2.
The dancefloor opened on July 19 for a ‘Freedom Day’ party but the club is normally only open on Friday and Saturday until 4am.
Andre added that he and his eight staff members had been vaccinated and that the club was regularly cleaned.
Responding to club owner Andre Smith’s decision, Public Health England said the contact tracing app had prevented 8,000 deaths from September to December 2020.
The government body added that the app is doing “exactly what it was designed to do” by advising people to self-isolate to “protect themselves and others” if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid.
A Public Health England spokesperson said: “While most restrictions are being lifted, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19 even if you are fully vaccinated. We know the test, trace and isolate system is one of our best defences against the virus.
“The NHS COVID-19 app is reducing the spread of coronavirus and prevented an estimated 600,000 COVID-19 cases and 8,000 deaths between September and December 2020.
“The app is doing exactly what it was designed to do – informing close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 that they are at risk and advising them to isolate to protect themselves and others.”