As Northern Ireland eases some Covid restrictions today, why are they the only part of the UK that does NOT mention nightclubs in their plans?

As I’ve said time and time again on this blog, the dance music press typically only cares about what happens in London – mostly because they’re based there and it’s easy for them to cover. The most their employer has to cover is the cost of a Tube train or taxi. Anywhere else requires a train, at the least.

In recent times, the likes of Mixmag have become more aware of this criticism and have tried to address it – namely by rehashing articles from the likes of the BBC. Heaven forbid they should do actual work like examining government documents to find answers and expose problems.

England had a plan for reopening nightclubs. They originally wanted to do it in June, then pushed it back a month. Wales is allowing them to reopen on August 7th, and the Scottish government is trying to work out what it will do.

But in Northern Ireland? Nightclubs are not even referenced in any documents. I took a look at Stormont’s plan for releasing lockdown, published last May. Nightclubs are not mentioned at all. The closest reference to them I can find was this…

The description under Step 5 seems the most likely to include nightclubs. The only other vague reference is in a section about dancing in a later document – which seems to lump in nightclubs alongside weddings and social venues for things like ballroom dancing.

Has no civil servant over in Belfast ever stepped foot in a nightclub? Anyone who has would be able to immediately tell the difference – so why are they being included alongside ballroom venues? This situation makes no sense whatsoever.

Perhaps the Republic of Ireland’s plan contains a clue. It says that under phase five, nightclubs can reopen with social distancing in place – a starkly different situation to the English one. This was originally meant to be introduced in August, but the Delta variant has pushed this back significantly.

If anyone on the island of Ireland wants to go clubbing right now, they have to get on a plane across the Irish Sea going to any major English city. Absurd? Just a tad…