Covid in Scotland: Nightclubs reopen with celebrations and cheers

  • Published
Related Topics
Media caption,

Nightclubs have been able to open for the first time since the pandemic began

The reopening of nightclubs in Scotland was celebrated with cheers and cries of joy in Glasgow as the clock struck midnight.

It marked the moment clubbers were finally able to hit the dancefloor after 16 months of Covid restrictions.

Among those in Glasgow was 19-year-old Luke Dunsmuir who predicted the next few weeks would be "busy, busy" as he made up for lost time.

"Out every night, just you wait, you'll be seeing my face everywhere," he said.

He told the PA news agency he had missed meeting different people and networking - as he has been clubbing since the age of 15.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Luke Dunsmuir near a long queue at Glasgow's Polo Lounge

He said he was not worried about getting Covid as he was double-vaccinated.

"The only worry was older people, that was the only worry for me, but the younger generation the percentage of them getting Covid is so low," he said.

In the early hours of Monday, people danced inside with no social distancing or face coverings, which do not need to be worn on dancefloors.

Glasgow's renowned King Tut's Wah Wah Hut is among the venues reopening on Monday night.

General manager Nicola Beedie said excitement was mounting - but staff had not run into reopening "headfirst".

Image caption,
General manager of King Tut's Nicola Beedie

She told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat: "We have gone through every single step we can do and we are working hard to make it a comfortable space for everyone.

"The last 18 months have made a lot of us introverted and you start doubting yourself.

"But to get everyone back in the one place that we love so much and to have that energy around us again is going to be so so good."

Some venue owners have chosen to stay closed while they arrange staff and finalise safety measures.

Image source, Clark James Digital
Image caption,
Confetti rained down on people queueing outside the Buff Club in Glasgow as the clock struck midnight

There was initially some confusion about where masks would be required in hospitality venues.

However, new rules say that face coverings can be removed while dancing, drinking and dining, while drinking at the bar will be allowed in pubs.

Donald McLeod, owner of the Cathouse and Garage nightclubs in Glasgow, said while people are "bursting" for a night out, it would take his teams another two weeks to be assured they could open safely.

He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland: "I think everybody will feel great we're moving beyond level zero but a lot of people will still be anxious and we've got to be careful and give them the support.

"We've got to work out the new guidelines, how we interpret them and can manage the place safely because no doubt it's going to be mobbed.

"We also need to get the staff back to see who is coming - 150 staff all on furlough so we need to pull them back."

'Black Friday situation'

Scottish DJ Phoebe Inglis-Holmes told the BBC she was looking forward to the "joy and excitement" of club nights.

However she shared some concerns about personal safety, saying she predicted a "Black Friday situation" as people experience nightlife after a long withdrawal.

She said: "It's a horrible truth that after nearly two years of being cooped up, people will want to go out and somewhat understandably, want to go crazy.

"How will that have an effect on people's personal safety, the effects of drug and alcohol use and violence, the effect that will have on the emergency services, how that makes people feel when they're re-entering a nightclub environment?"

Ms Inglis-Holmes added there is a "long way to go" before club events are a viable source of income for artists - who she said are currently not covered by a new government insurance scheme if events are forced to cancel.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Clubbers in Boteco do Brasil at Glasgow's Trongate

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told BBC News her message to people is to "enjoy the return of many freedoms but be careful".

She urged people to wear face coverings where appropriate, wash their hands regularly and keep rooms ventilated.

She said: "If we are careful and cautious as we lift these restrictions hopefully we will continue to keep the virus under control."

She added her most overwhelming and important message is to get vaccinated - particularly those in the younger age groups.

Earlier this year the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Scotland announced it would mount a legal challenge to seek a judicial review on whether the Scottish government's Covid measures were valid.

However on Monday the group confirmed it would be pausing any legal action and would be "monitoring the situation closely moving forward".