Limited return to nightlife on its first night after 15 months
Many nightclubs plan to reopen for Sant Joan or once current restrictions are further relaxed
After 15 months of inactivity, nightlife has finally been permitted to reopen in Catalonia with restrictions in place. The clubs which opened in the early hours of Monday morning were allowed to do so at 50% capacity, closing at 3:30am and with party-goers obliged to wear masks and socially distance when not sitting down.
Due to these limitations, only around 1 in 4 clubs decided to reopen from midnight on Sunday into Monday - many have chosen to wait until the eve of Sant Joan on Wednesday, a long night of celebration in Catalonia, or until there are further relaxations, some of which are expected to come in 15 days time.
One bar that decided to open at midnight on Monday was Jamboree in Plaça Reial located in Barcelona’s old town. Now that the neighbouring Rambla boulevard is no longer bustling late at night, most life in the typically touristic area seems to be concentrated in Plaça Reial, with many tourists seen sitting around the square and on terraces drinking and socializing.
For the first day of nightlife’s return, around a hundred people queued outside Jamboree - 175 were able to enter the club, 150 with tickets bought in advance.
Ramón Sos, owner of Jamboree, said that while reopening is not really affordable, they want to “bring people back to work after temporary layoffs”. Sos hopes that restrictions will be relaxed soon, hopefully with some changes expected in 15 days.
While he understands the government's decision to impose a 50% capacity limit as many young people are still not vaccinated, Sos said that he does not understand why clubs should have to close at 3:30am: “I don’t believe that people go home when they leave and this causes problems for neighbourhoods because people go out and make noise in the street”.
Surrounding face mask regulations, Sos admitted that it was difficult to control and many people naturally brought their drinks to the dancefloor, with three staff members needed to man the area to remind people to abide by the new rules.
Jordi Muntaner, a regular at Jamboree, celebrated its return on Monday, and commented that, from his point of view, wearing a mask on the dancefloor and maintaining social distancing are “acceptable” conditions to permit the return of nightlife.