Home WORLD-NEWS London clubbers applaud the end of COVID restrictions: ‘I Want To Dance’

London clubbers applaud the end of COVID restrictions: ‘I Want To Dance’


Revelers dance at the “00:01” event hosted by Egyptian Elbows at the Oval Space nightclub


London clubbers flocked to one of the first rule-free live music events since the pandemic began last year on Monday, dancing the night away and rejoicing in human interaction as England lifted most of the COVID restrictions at midnight.

Britain, which has one of the world’s highest death tolls from COVID, faces another wave of cases, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson is lifting most restrictions in England on what some have dubbed “Freedom Day”.

Epidemiologists are generally skeptical that lifting restrictions is the right thing to do, but many young Brits have had enough of more than 1 1/2 years of lockdowns, they say, and are eager to party.

“I haven’t been allowed to dance for what seems like an eternity,” said Georgia Pike, 31, at the Oval Space in Hackney, east London. “I want to dance, I want to hear live music, I want the atmosphere of being at a performance, of other people.”

However, as well as the fun, there was also clear concern about a spate of new cases – more than 50,000 a day in the UK.

“I’m so excited — but it’s mixed with the sense of impending doom,” said Gary Cartmill, 26.

After rushing to vaccinate the population faster than almost all other European countries, Johnson’s government is betting England can reopen as fully vaccinated people are less likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19.

The promoters of the event, Rob Broadbent and Max Wheeler-Bowden, shot a video of them being tested for COVID and urged those to isolate themselves to do so.

They said they reduced the number of bands and the number of venues and lost money on the event because fewer people attended than expected.

British society seems divided over the restrictions: some want strict rules enforced because they fear the virus will continue to kill people, but others are annoyed by the toughest restrictions in peacetime history.

Business owners – including nightclubs, travel companies and the hospitality industry – have tried desperately to reopen the economy, while many students, youth and parents have quietly ignored many of the most thorny regulations.

Artists say the lockdown has been tough.

James Cox, the 32-year-old lead singer of Crows, a post-punk band that plays at The Oval Space, said the last time he performed live was on Halloween 2020.

“Before that, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like it because it’s been so long,” Cox said. “As soon as I got on that stage and started sound checking, I was like, oh yeah, I like this, I really like this, I was like, this is my passion.”

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)



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