London — Sparkling wine, confetti, midnight countdown: Not New Year’s Eve, but maybe even for British clubbers. After 17 months of empty dance floors, Kunashir Island’s nightclub has reopened with great success.
Thousands of young people, from London to Liverpool, will dance the night at the “Freedomday” party as soon as Monday. Almost all UK coronavirus regulations will be lifted on Monday. Masks are no longer legally required, social distance rules are shelved, and there are no restrictions on people attending theater performances or major events.
The nightclub, which has been closed since March 2020, can only be reopened without occupancy restrictions, masks or testing requirements. Many of the reopening parties scheduled for this opportunity were sold out a few days ago.
Tristan Moffat, Operations Director at The PianoWorks, a music venue in London, said:
After losing about £ 40,000 a month during a pandemic, the company is keen to reopen, he said. That “free day” bash begins with a countdown to midnight on Sunday. At this time, the staff will cut a ribbon on the dance floor and provide customers with free Prosecco.
But while entertainment companies and laborers are delighted, some are worried about the UK government’s decision to restart the economy altogether and no longer require masks.
Authorities reiterated their belief that the deployment of national vaccines (67.8 percent of adults, or just over half of the total population, received two doses) would not pose a threat to public health. But Friday’s leading international scientists described Britain’s “Freedom Day” as a threat to the world and endorsed a letter to the British medical journal The Lancet, where 1,200 scientists criticized the government’s decision. did.
Even Chris Whitty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief medical officer, warned that “it could get into trouble again surprisingly quickly.” Johnson himself downplayed the story of freedom and emphasized that life would not soon return to its pre-pandemic state.
For Johnson, Monday is definitely not a business as usual. The Prime Minister and Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak have been quarantined for 10 days after contacting Health Minister Sajid Javid, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
Johnson can use COVID-19 status certification “as a matter of social responsibility” in crowded nightclubs and other venues to show double jabs, negative test results, or recovery. We urged only regular customers to be accepted. sick.
However, there are no legal requirements to do so. According to industry group CEO Michael Kill, 83% did not ask people about COVID-19 status in a 250 midnight bar and club flash poll by the Nighttime Industries Association last week. Said it would be. Many owners see the pass as a major turning point for their customers and accuse the government of “giving money” to businesses.
“I’ve heard people boycott companies that adopt it,” Kill said. “The last thing we want after a few months of closure is to be hampered again in terms of trading capacity. We either require it or not. This is tremendous for us. I’m not putting pressure on you. “
Russell Quelch, head of operations for REKOMUK, the UK’s largest operator of bars and clubs at midnight, called the government’s attitude towards the COVID-19 pass “infeasible” and unfair.
Johnson’s decision to abolish the legal requirement for face coverings in indoor public spaces is also controversial.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said masks are still “expected and recommended” in crowded indoor areas, but after saying that they are not obligatory, passengers on the capital’s subways and buses wear masks. He said he had to keep wearing it.
Some retailers, such as bookstore chain Waterstones, said they would encourage customers to keep their masks on. However, many believe that it would be difficult to implement such a policy without legal backing, just as COVID-19 status would pass.
The end of regulation in the UK on Monday will be a crucial moment for the UK to deal with a pandemic. The pandemic is reported to have killed more than 128,000 people nationwide. Other parts of the UK (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) are taking more cautious steps from the blockade.
Salsa instructor Esther Alvero is one of many who are excited but afraid. Albero, co-founder of Cubaneando, who had stage performances for salsa club nights, classes and gala events before the pandemic, said he had made little money over the past year. All her savings were gone and her dancer had to survive by doing a part-time job as an Amazon delivery driver or cleaner.
“Honestly, we can’t wait to get back to it, but in a way it’s scary, from nothing to everything at the same time,” Albero said.
“I’m scared, but I have to survive,” she added. “There is no option, as the economic impact can be worse than the COVID itself.”
By Sylvia Hui and Urooba Jamal