Nightclubs around the UK reopened their doors at midnight as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in the UK.
To celebrate, many club owners threw midnight parties to coincide with the easing of guidelines.
At London’s Heaven, social distancing remained in place until the stroke of midnight at a party hosted by Ru Paul’s Drag Race star Tia Kofi. Outside the venue, queues of 600 snaked all the way from Embankment Tube Station to Trafalgar Square.
The venue had installed a special countdown clock for the occasion and, at 12:01am, all restrictions were lifted and fans packed out the venue with no masks or social distancing in place.
“I used to go to Heaven like every week so to not be here for well over a year has been horrible,” James, 26, from Tooting told The Independent. “It was just pure joy when the music kicked off just after midnight and everyone started hugging one another. Many people cried.”
At The Factory club in Manchester, club-goers started to queue hours before the midnight party. According to local reporters at the scene, soon after 12:01am, music filled the venue and all three floors of the club were quickly filled with people without restrictions for the first time in over 483 days.
“It was just incredible to be back,” Kate, 38, told The Independent. “Everyone sang and danced together and it was such a special moment that everyone needed after such a long time away.”
You can see some more of the reaction here:
Izzy Rose, 22, from London was another to attend Fabric on Sunday night (18 July). She told The Independent: “It was such a surreal feeling to be surrounded by people dancing until the early hours. Two years ago I was a big club kid and you’d always find me on the dance floor under the strobe lights, so to be back was very intense yet super thrilling.“I went with my two best friends, and halfway through the night, decided to pull an all-nighter and face work at 9am with no sleep! The music was a mixture of techno, trance, house and everything soul shaking. I was so excited to be partying legally!”
On July 12, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that nightclubs and other event organisers are being advised to ask attendees for either proof of two coronavirus vaccinations or a negative coronavirus test. Guidance issued by the government stated: “If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the government will consider mandating the NHS Covid Pass in certain venues at a later date.”
However, a survey of over 250 venues conducted by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) reported that 82 per cent of venues would not be asking club goers to provide their Covid vaccination status in order to gain entry.
“We are hugely concerned that the government has caused yet more confusion by suggesting that Covid Passports are not mandatory while, at the same time, details reveal clearly that this could well be the case in future,” NTIA CEO Michael Kill said in a statement last week.
“Government guidance released this week has given businesses less than a week to make what would be a major change to their operating model. This type of ambiguous communication is creating hesitation amongst customers and operators. At this rate, ‘freedom day’ will be a false dawn for a nightlife sector characterised by chaos.”
REKOM UK, who own over 40 nightclubs throughout the UK, rejected the government’s advice to voluntary request Covid passports from club goers once restrictions were lifted with others expected to follow suit.