What do we really know about the increased risk of contamination in clubs and nightclubs?

To know the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic in a European country, it suffices to observe the fate of its clubs and nightclubs. In the event of a major epidemic resumption, these are often the first places open to the public to close by order of the authorities to slow the circulation of the virus.

This was verified as the fifth wave, boosted by the highly contagious Omicron variant, spread across the continent: in Belgium from November 27, then in Ireland (December 7), in Germany (December 8), in the Netherlands (November 13) in Catalonia (December 23), then in Italy (December 25), Portugal (December 25) or Scotland (December 27). In Finland, they remained open, but not without political controversy.

In France, the most recent closure was announced on December 6 by Prime Minister Jean Castex. This is supposed to last from December 10 until  » early January «  and is justified by the fact that « The virus circulates a lot among young people, even vaccinated, because wearing a mask is extremely difficult in these establishments ». After having closed for 16 months, between March 13, 2020 and July 9, 2021, the 1,200 clubs and nightclubs that remain in France will have finally remained open, at 100% of their capacity, barely less than ‘a month since the start of the pandemic.

The last evening of the year, which fell by force of circumstances on a rainy and cold Thursday, attracted all those who wanted to dance there one last time. In the process, the government published, for the sake of fairness vis-à-vis the profession and sanitary logic, a hardly applicable decree supposed to prohibit « dance activities » in all establishments of type N, « bars , night bars, atmospheric bars, restaurants, hybrid bars ”.

Often closed spaces, random ventilation

As soon as their reopening was announced this summer, club and nightclub bosses knew they would be the first to be sacrificed on the altar of restrictions if Covid-19 cases started to rise again. Despite some of the strictest health pass controls in France, their establishments are, in fact, often closed places, with random ventilation, where dancing and crowding make any idea of ​​barrier gestures unrealistic.

Read the survey: Article reserved for our subscribers Electro clubs are playing their own score as the nightlife reopens

They still reacted, with anger, to a judged decision « Inconsistent ». The Club Cultures collective, which campaigns for the recognition of clubs as « Full-fledged cultural institutions », born « Not understand the lonely health responsibility conferred on us, when we know full well that the party will be sent back to the private space ». He considers that there is no sanitary logic, because « The closure of discotheques and clubs [pendant seize mois] did not prevent the spread or impact of Covid-19 in France and Europe ».

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