Takeaway and a few drinks at home: the limited options facing increasing numbers of people in Europe on New Year’s Eve as nightclubs shut up shop – but won’t this just lead to more house parties?

As bellies around the world struggle on in that thankless task of processing all that food on the dining table yesterday, we enter the bizarre period between Christmas and New Year. And in case you’re struggling with that task, today is Sunday 26th December. We call it Boxing Day in the UK – long story.

Anyway, the next big date for many a clubber is New Year’s Eve. Traditionally a chance to say goodbye to the year whilst hugging a lot of random people you probably don’t like, it looked notably different with all the restrictions in place last year. And for an increasing number of people across Europe, it’s going to look much like last year this time around too.

Germany’s new chancellor Olaf Scholz has confirmed nightclubs across the whole country will be closed before New Year’s Eve. The Netherlands are in lockdown, so no luck there. Portugal brought their closing of nightclubs forward from January 2nd to yesterday. Ireland closed theirs a few weeks ago, whilst Wales and Scotland shut theirs tomorrow and Northern Ireland from today.

Elsewhere, almost all countries in the EU, along with England, require proof of having had the Covid vaccine or a negative test. This requirement is partially responsible for attendance in nightclubs being down over the past few weeks.

The result of all this? Well, a lot of people will undoubtedly stay at home. They’ll stock up on alcohol in the coming days and get a takeaway on the evening. But others might well be tempted to go to a house party – or even host it themselves. And this is where the problem is, yet lawmakers can’t seem to see it.

You see, nightclubs have to do a number of things at the moment. They have to switch their ventilation systems on a high setting. They have to provide hand washing facility. They have to check people on the door. Absolutely none of this is going to take place at a house party. And without getting into too much detail, the fact it’s a house party might enable some people to more easily engage in activity of the horizontal kind.

And I haven’t even got onto the possibility of plague raves being held yet. It’s high time politicians started showing us the evidence that nightclubs are the coronavirus hotspots they say they are. Otherwise, all they’re doing is pushing a highly regulated activity into places where no such rules exist…

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