Is It Too Soon For Clubs To Open Again?

Hannah Penny

Almost fifteen months have passed since Boris Johnson first put the United Kingdom into lockdown. That word, once alien to us, has now come to govern our lives. We never truly came out of that three-week “holiday” which felt so novel and new. Slowly, after countless lives lost, three strict lockdowns, a failed Test and Trace program, political turbulence and a shattered National Health Service, we are climbing back out of lockdown again.

The final step of that journey will be the reopening of nightclubs. After all this time, being under neon lights, surrounded by a thrumming mass of dancing and laughter, content with the bodies encircling you, will feel magical. But come June 21st, will the world be ready?

Realistically…it’s very unlikely. Even if clubs are given the greenlight to open up, mass testing, one-way systems, sanitising and masks will provide every possible obstacle to the idea of enjoying a night out on the town. On top of all that, the dread of hurting those around you and having to isolate for a possible two weeks all for a single night out may make it an unappealing experience for many.

both nationally and internationally, the group effort is not over

Hope is definitely glimmering through the darker days of lockdown, but now the sky is laced with grey clouds, ever threatening to shut us back inside again. After all this time, we deserve to unapologetically look forward to the reinstatement of “normal” life. However, we are still firmly in the midst of this pandemic. Both nationally and internationally, the group effort is not over.

Was it wrong for the government to dangle clubs in front of our noses? Arguably, had Johnson never proposed the reopening of clubs on June 21st, very few Britons would be anticipating their reopening so soon. Now that the Prime Minister has promised an end to all guidelines and closures, the people will expect it, and he will deliver it in a sub-par fashion.

Liverpool recently hit the news for holding the first experimental restriction free nightclub events. Some 6,000 people piled into Bramley-Moore Dock warehouse over two nights. No facemasks, no social distancing, no half capacity. All participants had to have a negative lateral flow test 24 hours before the event, done at a test site. They were also encouraged, but not required, to take a PCR test five days after the event.

The first question is – can a night out be safe? Quite possibly. After a series of trials by the government, including Liverpool raves, the BRITS, football matches and concerts just 15 people tested positive for COVID-19 out of the 58,000 attendees.

The question still remains however – can a night out still be fun?

As the world starts to open back up, hopefully for the last time, cases will undeniably rise. Hugging indoors is back on the cards, and the precautions we were hounded into obeying will no longer be compulsory. Many are now championing that we should be focusing on the number of deaths not cases. As we rapidly vaccinate the country, rising cases poses a lowered threat than before. Variants and anomalies will continue to perpetuate the feeling of trepidation for many, but we are not in the same situation we were in last March.

peoples’ lives cannot be used as the currency to remobilise the economy

The scepticism remains surrounding the governments intentions with opening England back up. Certainly, struggling sectors and ill-fated industries need to be boosted back to health. But peoples’ lives cannot be used as the currency to remobilise the economy.

Essentially, clubs reopening will be wonderful, but only at the right time. Further down the line, when the global situation is more stable and the cases in England are not rising rapidly, a night out on the town will be electric.

For many, getting too drunk in a dark corner of a sticky nightclub is not quite worth undoing the hard work of the past year and a half and the evenings that are so integral to British culture can wait a little while longer to return.

Hannah Penny

Featured image courtesy of Sam Mar via Unsplash. Image license found hereNo changes were made to this image. 

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