As clubs reopen across England, were the people dancing last night away sensible or just stupid? The answer is somewhere in the middle…

It was a hard sight to avoid if you were browsing on social media last night. Images of lengthy queues to get into nightclubs, which are now open in England again for the first time since March last year. Pictures such as this one from London…

https://twitter.com/natachakennedy/status/1416875403294220293?s=19

And similar scenes were replicated across many major English cities. So, let’s just get straight to the question that really matters – are the people who are now going to these nightclubs being sensible or just plain stupid?

The truth is the answer is somewhere in the middle. I personally don’t think going clubbing at the moment is a particularly sensible idea. That said, the fact government rules allow it counts for something. And nightclubs seem to be catching on to the view – expressed on this blog over two weeks ago – they’re being lined up to take the blame if lots of cases start being traced back to them.

The Government also knows it can get away with it. In a recent poll, 26% of respondents said they would be happy to see nightclubs effectively disappear forever. This is why Covid insurance for festivals isn’t a thing. This is why they’ve done next to nothing to help out nightlife during the pandemic. Blaming nightclubs for a spike is a message the public will buy – and this is something that the night time industry would take more seriously if they had leaders rather than donkeys in charge.

I just hope that people going to clubs do lateral flow tests ahead of time. No, they’re not the most reliable tests out there. But they’re better than nothing. For some reason however, I very much doubt that many of those clubbers out last night will have done so – partly because the industry and the government’s own mixed messaging have just sown confusion instead of clarity.

I can understand why they wanted to go out last night. There have been no legal options for clubbing since March last year. People are missing it, and this makes perfect sense. Many forget that for a lot of people, going out to a club isn’t about getting drunk and trying to cop off with some company. It’s about spending time with like-minded people, letting their hair down – and young people have been through a lot during the past 16 months.

But this isn’t the time to totally throw caution to the wind. Otherwise, nightclubs could find themselves closed again – just like in the Netherlands