Dublin nightlife will struggle post-Covid

It seems like just yesterday when I was in the club with my friends, dancing until our legs gave in under the bright neon lights as music bled through the speakers. Recent times have changed our lives drastically in a few short months.

Going out for dinner is a distant memory. Walking up to the bar and having a chat with a friend you haven’t seen in a while is no longer viable. Making new friends and meeting new people on a night out is not encouraged. How is Dublin nightlife ever going to recuperate itself when we can’t even shake hands with someone?

Pubs, restaurants and nightclubs have been hard hit during this pandemic. They have had to make outdoor seating areas widely available and enforce many new rules in an attempt to stay open. However, as we head into the winter months, it is difficult to imagine that people will avail of outdoor dining in the freezing cold Irish weather.

Our nightlife experiences have definitely deteriorated. We have to wear face masks in and out of restaurants, with table service only. We have to queue to get into places as we can’t squeeze everyone in under the one roof like we did before. These rules are likely to be implemented again after this lockdown, and they simply detract from the experience and keep people away.

It is likely that the public will start gathering in private homes again, putting pubs and restaurants in danger financially. It is difficult for many people to be out and about at the moment without worrying about the threat of the virus. Nightlife suffers as a result of this.

I can’t wait for the days to come that we aren’t consumed by rules and regulations. I find myself stressing a lot more in the absence of socialising with my friends and family outside of my household.

Considering the amount of money businesses have lost during the pandemic, it is a possibility they will start charging more for their services. Pubs could raise the price of drinks, with restaurants following suit. Nightclubs might have to charge more for admission to counteract the amount of capital that they have lost.

That being said, we could well be walking into a recession and paying more might not be an option, but how is this sector going to make a profit? Are our most loved music venues and nightclubs going to have to survive through crowdfunding?

I am hopeful a vaccine will help the process of recuperating nightclubs, but realistically there will still have to be new rules enforced.

This might be a detriment to the entertainment sector as adopting more rules will further push people away. I am buoyant though for restaurants and bars as their businesses haven’t been affected to the same degree as nightclubs.

Nonetheless, for the foreseeable future it looks like we are going to have to embrace “safe COVID-19 evenings” with restaurants and bars sending us home before twelve o’clock. Who thought I would ever look forward to that?

Róisín Travers.

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