THE boss of Evesham’s top night spot has slammed the government for singling out nightclubs over plans to mandate proof of vaccination for entry.

Sam Benjamin, managing director of Marilyn’s, Bridge Street, Evesham, reckons young people should be encouraged rather than forced to take jabs and that the night-time industry is being “picked on”.

Prime minister Boris Johnson revealed on Monday that people attending nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather in England will need to be fully vaccinated from the end of September.

Latest figures show 35% of 18 to 30-year-olds have not had their first jab.

Currently, nightclubs and other crowded venues are only encouraged to ask clubbers to show proof of vaccination, a negative test result or immunity but concerns over heightened transmission, particularly of the Delta variant, has seen the government act.

But with the news breaking less than 24 hours after nightclubs were finally allowed to reopen after 16 months, Mr Benjamin was left crestfallen.

“Yesterday was meant to be a day of triumph, a celebratory period where venues that had managed to get through the past year and a half could open their doors. Many venues didn’t make it,” he said.

“Everyone had a great time and then within hours – literally – they were blasted with the bad news that a part of their essential custom will not be able to visit venues in a month or so.

“The irritating thing from the perspective of nightclubs is that the initial news was aimed at our industry.

“It doesn’t seem fair, there are lots of different entertainment venues that bring together a lot of people – pubs, bars, mini golf, bowling, all sorts – where you are in crowded areas.

“For some reason they seem to be picking on nightclubs on the one day when the industry should be celebrating. The timing and delivery of the messaging is really off.

“We have a couple of months to sort it out and I am sure there will be an uptake when it comes to the vaccine on the back of the news.

“The reality is we are going to have to turn people away, though, customers who may have decided for whatever reason that they don’t want the vaccine.

“After a year and a half of such financial difficulty with such a lack of support, it seems very off to me.”

Mr Benjamin is against forcing people to have the vaccine but believes if such measures are to be taken that they should be enforced across the leisure industry.

“I have had my vaccine and will be getting my second jab as soon as possible but I am not sure they should become compulsory for entry to nightclubs,” he added.

“People should be able to do what they want to with their body, we should be educating people to have the vaccine but if you decide not to have it you should not be penalised.

“If you are going to enforce the rollout via this tactic then it needs to apply to sports venues, pubs, bars, restaurants, it should not only be nightclubs that get penalised.

“People will just go to find other entertainment. The UK is famous for its nightlife, we have some of the best clubs in the world and bring in some of the biggest DJs and acts in the world.

“This potentially prevents venues from being able to do that, it is going to be detrimental to the culture of the country.”

In the meantime, Marilyn's will party like its pre-March 2020 when its hosts its Grand Reopening Fund-Raver on Friday. All door proceeds go to NHS Charities Together.