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‘I went to a nightclub on opening night and there was one thing I’d bring back social distancing for’

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Just a four note riff of Mr. Brightside by the Killers and I knew I was back on Infernos’ dance floor.

The legendary venue in Clapham was one of many nightclubs that opened its doors again after an 18 month pandemic-induced closure.

I went along to the Opening Night to see how many people turned up and how everyone was feeling – and of course to dance the night away.

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The iconic Infernos in Clapham

Having been unable to go clubbing a whole cohort of young people who turned 18 during lockdown are essentially coming of age – but graduating straight into a recession rather than sweaty raves.

As such, Infernos saw a few hundred people rock up to its Opening Night on Monday, July 19 eager to catch up on some long-awaited boogie-ing.

But the Government has faced huge backlash for rolling back all restrictions, with some branding nightclubs “Covid breeding grounds”.

At no time is the competing priorities of this pandemic more clear – the need to support the hospitality industry versus public health risks.

In Infernos last night

In Infernos last night

As you’d expect, and given nightclubs have no obligation to do so, there was zero social distancing. And you could tell everyone felt a bit strange about it, myself included.

I bumped into numerous people who said: ‘I just can’t believe we are here’, ‘It’s crazy that we are actually in a nightclub and we can dance and hug other people it doesn’t feel real’.

After so many months of hardly ever being within two metres of most strangers, it was very odd to then be dancing right next to them in a sweaty club.

But there is one thing I have not missed – and that’s random guys trying to make moves on you in the club. If it meant this didn’t happen, I would bring social distancing back on a permanent basis.

Nonetheless, given Infernos has somewhat of a cult following amongst South West London’s youth, people were very excited to be back. It has been branded “The best party south of the river”.

Resident DJ ‘DJ Dex’ brought out all the classic cheesy tunes – with ABBA’s Dancing Queen being a highlight – as people belted it out across the dancefloor.

I bumped into a few girls who had turned 18 during the pandemic and last night was their first time in a nightclub. When asked about increasing Covid infection numbers, they said they weren’t worried.

One of them said: “I’ve missed the big coming of age moment…when you turn 18 and go clubbing on your birthday. So I’m going to go and I’m going to go harder.” They added that they felt somewhat protected having had their first vaccine.

Latest figures show 35 per cent of 18 to 30-year-olds have not had their first jab, but come September people attending nightclubs in England will need to be fully vaccinated – but some people branded this “too little too late”.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said nightclubs and other such venues could be “potential super spreading events” because of crowds in close contact.

“I would expect that with opening of nightclubs, we’ll continue to see an increase in cases, and we will see outbreaks related to specific nightclubs as well,” he said.

Still, as strange as it feels to be back, the risk of coronavirus doesn’t seem to be putting many people off.

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https://www.mylondon.news/lifestyle/lifestyle-opinion/i-went-nightclub-opening-night-21095382