Politics

Lockdown roadmap: the mixed reaction to the government’s plans to reopen nightclubs this year

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Hollie Richardson
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The mixed reaction to the news that nightclubs might reopen on 21 June says a lot about where we’re at right now.

How are we all feeling after Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday? The prime minister of course set out his so-called “four-step roadmap” to ease England out of its third – and hopefully, final – lockdown in the coronavirus pandemic

From 8 March, we will start returning to “normal” as students go back to schools and colleges. The following four months will see restrictions gradually ease until 21 June when any remaining legal restrictions are lifted (you can take a look at the full plan on GOV.UK).

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Johnson made a point of saying “decisions on easing restrictions will be led by data rather than dates”. But these first steps are a sign that the end of lockdown is in sight. 

This has left some people feeling anxious about leaving the comfort and safety of lockdown. Others simply cannot wait to start making plans and see their friends and family again. There are those who (understandably) just don’t trust what the government is saying, with a lot of skepticism over lifting lockdown too early. And there are plenty of people who just don’t know what to think anymore (again, totally understandable).

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Unsurprisingly, the internet is alight with the nation’s mixed reaction. And there’s a particular restriction easing on the roadmap that has really got people talking: the reopening of nightclubs. According to the plan, nightclubs – which will have been closed for well over a year – are scheduled to reopen on 21 June. 

Sky News reports that there have been suggestions that clubbers might need to take rapid tests to be allowed entry, but nothing is confirmed. Considering we’ve not been allowed to touch our family members and friends for such a long period of time, the idea of being allowed to dance with a crowd of people in a nightclub seems pretty wild.

From those who do not for one second believe clubs will be reopening their doors anytime soon, to others who are already compiling their pre-drinks playlist, here’s what everybody is saying about it…

Sascha Lord, night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, pointed out that the government has not mentioned nightclubs during the pandemic. 

Along with the rest of the hospitality industry, clubs have taken a massive hit over the last year, with many forced to close their doors for good. And while pubs, restaurants and bars could reopen for a while during summer 2020, clubs had to remain closed. 

“Can someone pinch me please…” Lord tweeted after the announcement. “Tonight, after 11 months…the prime minister has finally uttered the word we have been waiting for: nightclub.”

This quickly got some people daring to dream of what they’d be dancing to with their friends one day soon, with journalist Vic asking Twitter: “What song are you ready to hear in the club?”

Another Twitter user shared her excitement, writing:  “[21] June: I will not leave the threshold of the club bathroom for fear I have not informed every woman who enters how STUNNING they are.”

And this podcaster said it all by sharing a clip of Peggy Mitchell returning to The Vic in Eastenders, taking a deep breath and opening to doors to the pub she knows and loves so well.

Of course, there were plenty of people who pointed out that the world isn’t going to magically return to normal after the stroke of midnight on 21 June. Writer Otegha Uwagba shared a string of “laugh-cry” emojis after writing: “If you think nightclubs are opening on 21 June…”

And singer Jack admitted that he’s “choosing to believe” nightclubs will be reopening in June, despite knowing that he might just be dreaming.

People also expressed their excitement over choosing to just stay in, because it means they’re not being forced to stay in anymore. One such person illustrated this perfectly with a meme.

And then there were those who realised that, despite the excitement of living in a world where nightclubs are open, the reality is that they’re just too tiring to go to now. 

“Petition for over 25s nightclubs to be a thing,” declared one Twitter user.

Journalist Emmy also painted a perfect picture of the “expectation vs reality” of this with a meme of Mark from Peep Show

Writer Mollie concluded: “Love tweeting about going to the club and drinking loads of alcohol when I have not clubbed in seven years and mostly do not drink, I just like to be included.”

And that is perhaps the main point here: even if you never want to step foot in a club again, the fact is we’re starting to picture a world where we will have the choice to. Even if it doesn’t happen in June, it’s a reminder that we will have the freedom to choose Netflix marathons over big nights out in the not-too-distant future.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…