Venues such as Bedford Esquires and Corn Exchange expected to stay closed until 90% of population have had Covid jab in September

That goes for cinemas too

Nightclubs, gigs, cinemas and theatres are expected to have to wait until September before they can reopen to the public, the vaccines minister has suggested.

Nadhim Zahawi hinted that venues that will need to mass test visitors will not be allowed to reopen until almost all of the UK population has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Mr Zahawi also refused to rule out that social distancing measures, such as wearing a face covering and keeping up to two metres apart, will carry on for some time.

Venues such as Bedford Esquires and Corn Exchange are expected to stay closed until September (Google)

The Prime Minister has earmarked using lateral flow tests as a key method in allowing larger venues to reopen once lockdown measures start to be lifted.

These tests can return results within half an hour and could easily be used in various leisure settings, such as cinemas and theatres.

However, Mr Zahawi suggested on Tuesday (February 16) that such testing will only be deployed once nine in 10 adults have already had a Covid-19 vaccine.

He said: “We want to make sure we reopen the economy as quickly as possible, but make sure it’s sustainable.

“The combination of the national vaccination programme really delivering the protection for the whole of the adult population, and then rapid testing, should help us reopen our economy.”

Mr Zahawi added that mass testing will be deployed to reopen venues in “a world where we have the adult population vaccinated to those high levels”, and insisted the Government wants to have offered a Covid-19 vaccine to every adult in the UK by September.

However, it is not expected that large venues will be able to reopen until this milestone is reached.

Boris Johnson announced plans to rely on rapid Covid-19 tests for reopening the economy at a press conference on Monday (February 15), dismissing calls to use vaccine passports in favour of the quick turnaround tests.

More than 15million people across the UK have now been given their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, with the achievement hailed as a ‘significant milestone’ in the fight against the disease.

The passing of the milestone paves the way for the next phase of the rollout, with the Government aiming to offer a vaccine to the next five priority groups by the end of April.

These groups include the over 65s, all adults aged 16 to 65 in an at-risk group, the over 60s, over 55s and lastly the over 50s. Carers will also be offered the vaccine as part of the next phase.