How nightclubs will look when they reopen including temperature checks and capacity limits

NIGHTCLUBS are preparing to reopen when lockdown restrictions ease – but a night out will be different compared to pre-Covid times.

Clubs were hoping to reopen on June 21, but A Journalist revealed the government is now planning a four-week delay till July 19.

Nightclubs will find out if they can reopen next week

The decision to postpone freedoms day, when all the coronavirus restrictions are lifted comes as cases of the Delta variant trebled in a week.

Clubs have been closed since the first lockdown in March last year, and now might have to wait until July 19 to finally open their doors.

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel as A Journalist also revealed Boris Johnson’s plans include a two-week review which means clubs could open on July 5 if hospitalisations stay down.

How will nightclubs look when they reopen?

Bosses haven’t received government guidance on what Covid rules and regulations they will be required to meet – but most businesses are planning ahead to make sure they can open as soon as allowed.

Michael Kill, the chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “There is a level of anger and frustration of what is to be expected from the announcement on Monday. 

“Night Clubs have been waiting months for clarity on an indicative date of opening, if not June 21 then an understanding of when or what conditions nightclubs will be asked to operate under by the Government, and the subsequent support they will receive during this period.”

When nightclubs finally welcome back punters it’s likely to be a very different experience from a pre-pandemic night on the town. Here’s some of the biggest changes being planned:

Ticketing

While many clubs already require you to book tickets for specific events, this could become a necessity for everyday clubbing to keep tabs on capacity and contact tracing. 

Even if it’s not a safety requirement, as anyone who naively tried to wander into a pub when they first reopened in April will know, the demand might be too high for walk-ins.

Tokyo Industries, which owns Factory and the Deaf Institute in Manchester, had already sold out all of its events at full capacity.

Across all of its 45 UK clubs, which also include Fibbers in York and Digital in Newcastle, it has 250 sold out shows.

Test and Trace

Test and Trace will probably continue in some form as the government needs to keep an eye on any local outbreaks and stamp them out before they spread.

Pubs and restaurants currently require all customers to register via the NHS app, or to write down their contact details and it is likely that clubs will have a similar system.

Reduced capacity

Reduced capacity has also been floated as an idea to make clubs Covid safe but many owners say they simply cannot survive with fewer customers.

This is one of the reasons that most clubs have been unable to reopen so far – less than 5% reinvented themselves as a pub during lockdown as many would not have been able to break even. 

Hans Christian Hess, the co-founder of Egg London in Kings Cross, said the club had made some “major changes” including a new entrance to create more space for customers.

He said: “We are working very closely with the authorities and completing essential works to get maximum capacity.”

Damien Fell, director and programmer at Brighton’s The Arch music venue, said: “We are hoping that a sensible approach to what is possible and realistic is taken, so the experience can be somewhat a normal and enjoyable one.  

“To be frank though, any social distancing or reduction of capacity is going to hinder our ability to operate substantially, and make opening undoable.”

Testing and jabs

Rapid testing, such as lateral flow tests or temperature checks, and vaccinations could also be part of the club experience when they reopen in a bid to prevent any outbreaks.

Some bosses are against vaccinations being a requirement to entry, such as Aaron Mellor, managing director of Tokyo Industries.

Mellor said customers should “definitely not” have to be jabbed in order to dance and that “vaccination should be a choice not a requirement.” 

But Hans Christian Hess said his club will follow government guidance.

He said: “Whether or not [no vaccine, no entry] happens is dependent on what the government announces on June 14.”

Cleaning and ventilation

It is likely that more attention will be paid to cleaning and mask-wearing by staff, even if requirements are dropped on July 19.

A spokesperson for Rekom, the UK’s biggest nightclub owner, said the firm had invested in improving its ventilation systems to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Tokyo Industries boss Aaron Mellor said most nightclubs already have “vast ventilation requirements” that make them Covid-safe.

He said: “They date back to when people used to smoke in clubs so the air changes were massive and didn’t reduce when smoking was banned…they are super ventilated spaces.”

Despite the uncertainty and the prospect of a delay, nightclub bosses were adamant that guests will have a good time when they do finally make it back on the dance floor. 

Tokyo Industries’ Aaron Mellor is preparing to open the doors to some of his clubs at one minute past midnight on the day restrictions are eased if he is allowed.

He said: “The atmosphere will be amazing. The pent up demand for events has never been higher”. 

The UK economy grew at the fastest rate since July last year as lockdown restrictions eased.

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