Real normality after COVID-19 will only come with the opening of nightclubs, according to Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID.
No one doubts the dramatic impact that coronavirus has had on all our worlds. Who could have contemplated the era of lockdown during the last few months?
To date, nearly 40,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus and, perhaps even more depressing, the “excess death rate” for the period is above 60,000. That, perhaps, a better indicator of the cost in lives to our nation.
The death count grows but this itself may tarnish the fact that this desperate time is coming to an end. On 8 April, a daily high of 1,260 deaths was reported. In the next three weeks that rate was to halve and halve again. The downward trend is well and truly with us.
It could well be that by the end of June 2020 all may well be close to normal. I am aware that many will be concerned that the trend could be subject to a “second spike”. Yet the conditions in Denmark and Austria, who are both several steps ahead of the UK, indicate that a second spike is not a given. That data is encouraging.
On 1 June horse racing started again, the last race meet being 20 March. Some year groups in schools also went back on 1 June, and shielded patients, those with acute health indicators, have been allowed out with the rest of the population. All these are significant and huge steps towards recovery.
On 4 July many of the pubs in and around Broad Street will be reopening. All will be taking baby steps to ensure their staff and customers are safe and well. A nurse, under current circumstances, is the second most dangerous occupation in the UK. A police officer the 27th. Bar staff are number 292 on the list and, just for good measure, accountants are at 317. It appears if we as punters apply a bit of common sense and stay alert, all will be well.
I therefore welcome the return of the great British pub. But when will nightclubs reopen? Naturally, it is the government who will have the final say on this, but matters are now rolling out at a pace. The desperate health condition coronavirus has visited on the UK is horrid. Yet we are also confronted with an economic catastrophe unless we intelligently act to deal with this imperative.
I see a clear measure of normality revisiting our shores once nightclubs reopen. Nightclubs are a bit more demanding in terms of close contact, but then they tend to be a lot larger than pubs. I know many nightclub operators and, believe you me, they are more than capable of overcoming most any obstacles.
Driven by the critical dimension of economics they will develop imaginative and safe ways to open. I feel this could well be August, maybe September, with a bit of care and consideration.
Watch this space as when nightclubs do reopen it will be a key indicator of the nation getting back to normal.