With New Year’s Eve approaching, the government’s announcement about the closure of nightclubs in Wales from Dec 26 2021 is big news. The decision has come as an attempt to slow transmission as Omnicron cases surge across the UK. However, it has provoked anger from club owners across the country who were gearing up for a busy New Year’s period. Likewise, groups greater than six will also not be able to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants in Wales from that day.
After months of closures and capacity limits already, many venues are up in arms about these restrictions. So, what are the implications of these new Covid restrictions in Wales? And does it mean that clubs all across the UK must brace for the same fate?
Super Spreader events
The Welsh First Minister, Mr Drakeford has explained the decision to close nightclubs in Wales, referred to as ‘superspreader events’. In a statement, he said, ‘We know that omicron, in particular, thrives in places where there is close contact between people, and that is the nature of a nightclub’.
However, there is much anger from the industry and public who say that the nightclub industry has been unfairly targeted throughout the pandemic. The government has counter-argued saying the restrictions are about enforcing social distancing. They are not a direct attack at clubs.
On top of restrictions, Welsh health officials have advised that the public take lateral flow tests before shopping or visiting others in ideally, outdoor settings. They have also asked people to adhere to social distancing guidelines, wear a face covering and wash hands thoroughly.
Many nightclubs face permanent closure
Many of us feel like we’re right back at the start of 2020, with growing Covid cases and impending restrictions. After almost two years of closures, nightclubs and other large entertainment venues have only started to reopen to larger capacities in the last few weeks. Now everything looks set to go back to square one.
Following the latest announcement, the Welsh government has said that up to £60 million will be made available to support venues in Wales that are affected by these rules. However many businesses are arguing that it is not enough and it’s highly likely that many won’t see it into 2022.
What about Covid passes?
Initially, the highly controversial covid passes had been implemented in clubs across the UK. These had allowed double-jabbed citizens to prove their vaccination status before entry. However, the Welsh government was concerned with the rising Covid cases and felt that more drastic action needed to be taken.
The government is urging everybody who Is eligible to get vaccinated and warns of potential further covid restrictions, leaving most of us wondering, when is this all going to end?
What does this mean for university students in Wales?
With events shutting down left, right, and center in Wales, it’s not quite the pre-Christmas celebration that most university students were expecting. Concerns are being raised that universities and schools across the country will have to revert back to online learning. This is a step that many are opposed to due to the educational and mental health implications. Academics have warned that online teaching is ‘vastly inferior’ and students face severe psychological harm unless they can attend lectures in person.
Students mental health is at risk
It is now almost two years into the pandemic and Covid has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health, and in particular, university students. Online learning, separation from friends and family, and financial issues have all come into play. In the face of more restrictions, it’s never been more important for students to talk about their mental health.
It’s not all doom and gloom, a new year is around the corner and there is plenty to be grateful for too. Either way, don’t forget to check in regularly with yourself and with others.