Nightclubs in Scotland and Wales are reopening in the coming days – but will you be required to wear a face mask, and as for those of you in Belfast? Still no date for you!

As anyone who reads this blog will know, nightclubs across England reopened on July 19th. Which left the question – when would the other three nations that make up the UK follow? Because whilst devolution meant there would be differences, the paths being followed out of lockdown were broadly similar.

Well, we now have some answers – Welsh nightclubs return on August 7th, and Scottish ones can reopen from August 9th. So from next week, clubbing will be back in business across Great Britain. However, there remains a question mark over the use of face masks.

England scrapped the requirement to wear face masks in enclosed spaces last month. It’s now up to individuals and venues to make the decision. In Scotland and Wales, however, a number of mask wearing rules look set to remain – making it unclear whether they’ll have to wear face masks in nightclubs. Logic suggests to me that having to wear one in a shop but not in a club makes little sense – but I’ll keep an eye out for more news.

Which leaves one area of the UK where clubbing remains banned – Northern Ireland. And not only that, but no date of any kind is in the diary for reopening. I wrote about this subject last Friday, and Stormont appear to have lumped nightclubs in alongside ballroom venues. Which makes literally no sense whatsoever.

I can only guess it’s because there’s no votes in it for the DUP or Sinn Féin. As evidence of this, I cite the fact that two-thirds of Northern Irish university students who chose to study at an institution in Great Britain didn’t return home afterwards. And they’re far from the only ones making an exit from the province.

Anyone on the island of Ireland who wants to go clubbing next week will have to book a plane to the nearest airport, pay for a hotel room, go to the club and head back to the airport to go home. If the situation was reversed, I can’t help but suspect the outcry would be deafening…