Did someone tell them the furlough scheme has ended? Northern Ireland’s nightclubs can FINALLY reopen from Halloween – over three months after England unlocked the doors…

England reopened their nightclubs on July 19th. Wales reopened theirs on August 7th and Scotland followed on August 9th. Clubs have also opened up in much of Europe, the USA and other countries. High uptake of the Covid vaccination programme is being typically cited as the reason why this is able to happen.

But Northern Ireland’s nightclubs have curiously remained shut – and even last week as the UK-wide furlough scheme came to an end, there was no explanation forthcoming of why they remained closed. Despite my best attempts to find out, no one could quite elaborate on how nightclubs were meant to pay wages with no money coming in and no furlough scheme available.

In life, however, remember that other people can hear you even when they appear not to be listening. Hence why yesterday, the Northern Ireland Executive finally announced that nightclubs can reopen again – but in a particularly weird twist, not until October 31st. Maybe there’s some kind of Halloween joke to be made there…

Asking for proof of double jabbing or a negative lateral flow test is being recommended, but isn’t essential. Which is hardly surprising – Scotland launched a vaccine passport app earlier this week. Initial reports say it doesn’t work.

And the legal threats haven’t gone away either. I approached one of the companies which previously threatened to take the Executive to court over its refusal to open nightclubs – they simply said “We’ll talk to our solicitors again over the next few days to discuss our options”…

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