Rekom UK has reopened the majority of its nightclub venues as ‘nightpubs’ due to increasing nervousness that the 21 June roadmap date would be delayed, chief executive Peter Marks told MCA’s The Conversation.

Its venues have been shut for the past 15 months, and Marks was keen to “get the wheels turning again” and get people back into work.

“But the other reason was because we were so concerned about whether 21 June was really going to happen. What if it was pushed back another month?… We needed to get going,” he told host and MCA contributing editor Peter Martin.

He said that as a nightclub business it was very limited in terms of what it could do when restrictions are in place, but it has opened most of its venues as late-night pubs, with tables of six and social distancing in place.

Marks explained that Rekom had been burning through about £750k a month, and with its venues now open in their current form it was taking around 25% of what it would have been doing over the comparable period in 2019.

In terms of reopening, Marks said he was more concerned about “what conditions we may have thrust upon us”, than the government relaxing restrictions enough to tick the box on the roadmap. “We can’t operate a nightclub business with social distancing,” he said. “People can’t dance in their seats.” The absolute backstop would be having to operate at a reduced capacity of 10-20% - “but quite frankly, we need to open as a nightclub”.

Marks is much more positive about consumer confidence and said the outward signs, particularly from young people, were very encouraging. “Younger people are the ones that just want to get out,” he said.

Rekom has sold out of tickets for the majority of its sessions for the first week following the proposed lifting of restrictions in a few weeks’ time, but while Marks said tickets were obviously flexible, if they missed the end of June window then the student population that they rely on heavily in the towns and cities they operate in, will then have returned home for the summer.

To listen to the full recording, click here.