Bristol nightlife reacts to delayed easing of restrictions

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By Holly Beaumont and Filiz Gurer, Co-Editors-in-Chief

Venues in Bristol have expressed their ‘disappointment’ after the PM’s announcement on Monday that the easing of further restrictions would be delayed by four weeks to 19 July.

21 June was intended to mark the fourth and final step of England’s roadmap out of lockdown, with ‘Freedom Day’ expected to see the reopening of nightclubs and theatres, and the lifting of restrictions on large events such as festivals.

After a year of little to no nightlife, students and club workers alike were excited about the prospect of nightclubs reopening.

However, following concerns over the Delta variant, the 21 June date has been pushed back four weeks, with nightclubs and other not yet reopened premises remaining closed until 19 July.

The Government’s imposed delay has left Bristol’s nightlife disappointed, but hopeful for a return soon. Venues in Bristol have expressed to Epigram their sentiments over being able to be reunited with students as soon as possible.

Student popular nightclub Lakota, told Epigram that they ‘share the disappointment with everyone’ stating that the ‘news was disappointing to hear, especially as previous sentiments from the government seemed to indicate that there would be no deviation from the planned reopening on 21st June.’

Lakota will, however, still be making use of their outdoor space, informing Epigram, ‘we will be using this extra time to put on shows at Lakota Gardens so that people can enjoy the events as much as possible within the current guidelines’.

They are also pleased to inform that their events, ‘The Rave Returns’ and ‘Summer of Love Festival’ will still be going ahead as planned.

‘We are awaiting further guidance from the government on when we can definitely reopen. Once they have confirmed a reopening date we will move our club shows and festival so that we can welcome partygoers and ravers once more in what is going to be a truly special reopening!’, they said.

Lizard Lounge Clifton has also expressed ‘what an anticlimax’ the delay was, telling Epigram: ‘We’re super sad we won’t see our beloved students before everyone returns home for summer. However it will make our reunion that little bit sweeter when the time comes! Let’s keep our spirits high and hospital admissions low.’

Since the confirmation of delay, other Bristol nightclubs have also put out messages of disappointment on social media, with Pryzm Bristol stating, ‘It’s not the news we wanted, however we are staying positive and hope to be back very soon!’

Many of Bristol’s venues are also issuing statements over the rescheduling of their events for those who had already purchased tickets for events running from 21 June.

Commenting on the impact of the delayed date for the lifting of final restrictions, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, Michael Kill stated: ‘This is a hugely devastating blow for the very industries that have been hardest hit by this pandemic; in a very real sense, the Prime Minister has ‘switched the lights off’ for an entire sector.

‘Distressed industries cannot continue to be held in limbo… This delay, which again offers no clarity on when businesses can open, is leaving many in the industry angry and frustrated, alongside other businesses who have been locked down or restricted from opening through no fault of their own, and at their own cost.’

On Tuesday 15 June, Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees said: ‘I know this will be disappointing news for many of you after such a challenging past eighteen months.

‘I’m particularly conscious of the ongoing effect of current restrictions on our night-time and hospitality industries, and echo the concerns expressed by the Night Time Industries Association about the impact on the sector.

‘Many of our venues have spent the last two months rebuilding from the ground up to prepare for reopening, and many people will feel anxious as a result of this postponement, including the approximately 32,000 people in jobs related to night-time cultural and leisure activities in Bristol. I want to reassure you that we continue to push calls for ongoing support for individuals and businesses while public health restrictions remain in place.

‘However, the final step of the government’s roadmap is being delayed for a reason. Our infection rate in Bristol is rising sharply, as in other areas of the country. We have not met the four scientific tests to allow us to safely ease restrictions further.

‘Please be vigilant, to help us bring down infection rates and protect Bristol, so that restrictions can be eased in July.’

The government is expected to review the measures in two weeks time and issue a further update on the final stage of reopening on June 28.

Featured Image: Epigram / Holly Beaumont


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