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Beyond Level 0: What does a post-Covid night out look like in Dundee?

It was a moment 17 months in the making as some of Dundee’s biggest night-time venues reopened on Friday night.

Revellers packed into nightclubs including Club Tropicana and Aura as the move “beyond Level 0” of coronavirus restrictions allowed party-goers to enjoy a “normal” night out.

But what does a night on the town look like in the wake of nearly a year-and-a-half of severe restrictions and social distancing?

We went along to find out.

Outside the venues

There was no hint of a pandemic as large queues built up on South Ward Road for the first big night out since March 2020.

Becca Ogilvie was there with a group of friends. She said: “I just turned 19 and this is my first time being able to go out, we’re buzzing.

“I don’t what it’s going to be like.

Fraser Docherty, 20, Becca Ogilvie 19, and Alex Mckenzie, 19.

“We’ve only really been to pubs and stuff since they’ve reopened so it’s going to be different.”

Roland Thomas, 21, was looking forward to a night of dancing. He said: “The last time I was at a club would be February 2020.

“I have missed it, it’s a good thing to do at the weekends.

Roland Thomas, 21, standing in the queue looking forward to a night of dancing.

“I thought it would have been a bit calmed down, but it looks really busy tonight so it’s going to be packed.”

One group admitted to being hesitant about going out at first.

Iona Ramsey, 22, said: “I was actually a bit apprehensive but I think now everyone’s had the vaccine, it’s less of a risk because it’s less transferable.”

Emma Power, 21, Iona Ramsey, 22, and Elle Ross, 22.

Emma Power, 21, said: “I think it’s a good thing that they’ve got track and trace, it’s not just a free for all.”

Elle Ross, 22, said: “I will definitely be taking my lateral flow test tomorrow.”

What are the rules?

Nightclubs must collect customers’ details on their arrival as part of track and trace efforts.

Revellers are also being asked to wear masks when walking around a venue, and upon entering and exiting.

Social distancing rules were abolished after Scotland moved beyond level zero.

However, they are allowed to take them off when drinking or dancing.

Customers are also allowed to stand and drink at the bar, something that was ruled out under Covid-19 restrictions.

Two-metre social distancing rules are no longer in place following the move beyond Level 0.

The staff

Mark Reid – the head doorman – says things have changed since before Covid-19.

He said: “I’ve been here for about six years now.

“It was part of my routine, Friday and Saturday night, all weeks, with the occasional gig and then all of a sudden it stopped.

Mark Reid, the head doorman for Club Tropicana, Venga and Aura.

“Coming back tonight, it really has been a tough shift because everyone just wants to get in and party – they’ve not been able to party for a long period of time.

“There’s been rules and regulation that have been put in place which, in my opinion, has made it more difficult and has created bottlenecks.

“It’s meant a lot of people coming down early to try and get it because there’s the fear of not getting in.”

Large queues built up outside the clubs.

Paul McGregor, the general manager of the venues, says the reopening is a “welcome relief”.

He said: “It’s good to get people back working again, it’s good to get the night time economy coming out again.

“It’s good to see people coming back to clubs and having a great night out.

“I think it’s a relief for people, with the clubs being the last to open businesses to open, it really kind of signifies the end of the shutdown.

Revellers enjoyed a night of dancing for the first time since March 2020.

Paul added: “Nightclubs have always been an escape from the normal day to day life.

“You come in, you let your hair down, you have a drink, you have a laugh with your friends, you know it’s this escape from all the things that go on in your everyday life.

“That’s what we provide and that’s what people have missed, you need that good night out feeling.”

Inside the venues

The night did not disappoint for those who made it into the clubs.

Saoirse Tierney, 21, said: “I was last in a club 510 days ago. It feels amazing to be back.

“I can’t dance but I’m having a great time.”

Mairi Espie, 20, Saoirse Tierney, 21 and Kieran Jack, 21.

Kieran Jack, a 21-year-old club photographer, said the experience was very different compared to the last time he had been in a club.

He said: “The night before we went into lockdown, I was in Underground working as a photographer and it was so weird, everyone was just covering their faces with masks.

“But everyone’s happy, everyone’s enjoying themselves, it’s good.”

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