Reopening of clubs in China March 2020

Guide to Safe Partying When Nightclubs Reopen

Summary: Top Ten New Rules for Safe Post-Lockdown Nightclub Partying

  1. Sick? Stay home.
  2. Safety first: invest in a quality mask.
  3. Really though, any mask will do.
  4. Patience, long lines ahead.
  5. Hand sanitizer, or wash hands.
  6. Six feet of social distancing.
  7. Mask off? Only to drink or breathe.
  8. No yelling or singing!
  9. VIP tables? Sure, why not?
  10. Lots of air flow, not lots of people.

“Wrote it down and read it out, hoping it would save me… Now I’m standing back from it, I finally see the pattern. I got new rules, I count ’em.”   “New Rules” – Dua Lipa (2017)

OIL Nightclub in Shenzen reopened from lockdown on 27-Mar.
Three months after locking down, nightclubs in China began reopening on 27 March. (Photo courtesy Resident Advisor)

When will it be safe for nightclubs to reopen?

We’re quite a ways into this unprecedented global pandemic, and the positive news is that many of the world’s big cities have now made significant strides in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and turning the tide in humanity’s battle against the deadly virus. As we steamroll towards another summer – the unofficial start of which is always Memorial Day Weekend here in the U.S. – cities are gradually beginning to relax their lockdown requirements and reopen businesses. The temporary ban of large gatherings – including dayclubs and nightclubs in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York Miami, and lesser nightlife hubs – in the early stages of the outbreak was of the necessary measures to ensure public safety and improve our timetable to return to normalcy. The curve has since been flattened, and now the public is cautiously seeking to reduce social distancing and quarantine mandates and resume reasonable in-person gatherings and interactions.

And we totally get it: you’re probably suffering from a strong case of “lockdown fatigue” at this advanced point in this global quarantine, and by now you are just itching to go out. In general, as of the publishing of this article -mid-May – it’s STILL not quite safe to go out and gather in large spaces – let alone party with strangers – at the moment… but rest assured, it will be safe enough very soon. Every city in the world has a different timetable to reopen; some places around the world – e.g. China, Japan, and South Korea – have already reopened, by virtue of having been locked down months sooner than the U.S. and acting more quickly and comprehensively to check and control the spread of the coronavirus.

King Nightclub in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo courtesy JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images.)

Don’t you worry though: after weeks of exercising utmost caution and patience, the good ol’ U.S. of A is now on the verge of reopening its economy on a much wider scale. The exact timeline of openings will vary by state and county, but in general we will see the following phased approach to opening certain business types across communities in the U.S:

  • Phase 1: Dine-in restaurants, barber shops, beauty salons, and other semi-essential businesses.
  • Phase 2: Offices, factories, and other workplaces.
  • Phase 3: Schools, churches, and vocational facilities
  • Phase 4: Small-gathering entertainment establishments – e.g. bars, arcades, bowling alleys, shopping malls
  • Phase 5: Large-gathering entertainment establishments – e.g. movie theaters, nightclubs, festivals

How can I party safely once the nightclubs in my city reopen?

Sure, you’ve partied out with your friends many times in the past, and the basic ins and outs of clubbing had already become second nature to you many moons ago. But life as we know it has drastically changed in the wake of this global pandemic, and nothing will ever be the same. So then, a new set of party rules MUST be added to our first set – at least in the meantime until we find a vaccine, a cure, or other means to eradicate the spread of COVID-19.

Because we care deeply for our industry and its customers and want to see both back and thriving as soon as possible, Discotech has put together a list of ten critical rules for safe partying once local governments reopen nightclubs, bars, lounges, concert halls, and other music-focused entertainment venues. Have the lockdown gates just been lifted in your city? Ready, set, go!

1. Do NOT go out if you are showing visible symptoms of sickness.

This is the MOST IMPORTANT, simplest and, easiest-to-follow rule on our list. And not just if you might have COVID-19, but if you have ANY of the above illnesses or symptoms shown in the above chart. To do so is incredibly selfish and goes against everything that that the clubbing and party community has stood for since the dawn of man. Don’t put other people’s well-being at risk just so you can have a carefree, shallow, good time.

2. SAFETY FIRST. Purchase and wear high-quality masks.

If you’re symptom-free and feeling 100% healthy and have already decided to take the personal risk of engaging in close quarters with equally healthy fun-loving strangers, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE purchase and wear a high-grade mask (KN95, N95, FFP2, or similar). Los Angeles, CA-based The Fabric Outlet, the trusted supplier from whom Discotech purchases its masks supply to ensure a safe office environment, is one of numerous certified and highly-rated online vendors of heavy-duty face coverings at reasonable bulk-discount prices.

3. If you can’t get a professional-grade mask, disposables or makeshift masks will suffice.

Can’t get your hands on a high-quality mask in time for the party? No worries, you still can do your part to reduce exposure and risk by donning a disposable face mask, available for purchase online or at your local drugstore. Or if you’re feeling friskier, then perhaps you might want to go with a more stylish, colorful homemade face covering fashioned from a bandana you’ve recycled from a past music festival:

More expensive high-grade reusable masks remain much more effective and thus strongly recommended when gathering in crowds. However, disposable and cloth masks “do significantly reduce the exhaled aerosols from infectious, but asymptomatic, individuals” says Raed Dweik, MD, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute. As nightclubs reopen, face coverings of any and all kinds play a pivotal role in helping block the spread of the virus, especially from asymptomatic carriers. The more people in a given space wearing masks, the less viral particles are making it into the space around them, greatly decreasing interpersonal transmission.  

4. Prepare for longer, slower lines to get into nightclubs.

temperature checks for coronavirus
Many establishments are taking temperatures as a precaution against COVID-19. (Photo courtesy Jeff Gritchen, OC Register/SCNG)

Clubs that reopen will be taking every reasonable health safety precaution possible, including masks and gloves for service staff and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of furniture, surfaces, handrails, dance floors, and restrooms. And at some venues, management will decide to go a couple steps further, requiring entering guests to undergo mandatory temperature checks, and/or scan a QR code on their phones that indicates their health status and facilitates contact tracing should a visitor be diagnosed with coronavirus in the future. These new process steps will likely make the waits to get into nightclubs longer than they were before, so a friendly reminder to get to your favorite spot at least 15-30 minutes earlier than you did pre-pandemic and STAY CALM, PATIENT, AND POSITIVE while in line waiting for the fun to happen.

5. Bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer and use it – or wash your hands – every time you touch a foreign surface.

In these pandemic times, hand sanitizers have morphed from a merely “convenient” into an ESSENTIAL way of promoting public health and preserving one’s own personal health. Often used on the go, hand sanitizers contain ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or both to kill bacteria and viruses that settle your hands. Alcohols have long been known to kill germs by denaturing the protective outer proteins of microbes and dissolving their membranes.  Of course, we would more strongly recommend cleaning your hands with soap and water – a 20-second wash is actually much more effective than using any hand sanitizer. That being said, we’ve seen the inside of MANY a nightclub bathroom and we wouldn’t wish multiple visits to them over the course of one night on our worst enemy – those things were bad enough even before coronavirus.

6. Employ best social distancing (6 feet or more) practices.

The coronavirus strain SARS-CoV-2 that causes the COVID-19 disease can be transmitted through contaminated surfaces, but it also easily spreads through coughing and sneezing and can even remain active in airborne droplets for up to 3 hours. The 6 feet of distance recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is designed to put up a roadblock to the aerosolized droplet methods of transmission. Why 6 feet? Temple University epidemiologist Krys Johnson explains: “Six feet is the average distance that respiratory droplets from a sneeze or cough travel before they settle and are no longer likely to be inhaled by other people. I have seen estimates for social distancing of up to 10 feet if someone sneezes quite hard, [or] does not cover their sneeze [or] cough. This allows those particles a little more distance to settle so that you are not breathing them in. As long as someone’s not outwardly ill, though, you should be safe maintaining a 6-foot distance.”

7. Keep your mask on the entire night, with VERY limited exceptions.

Yes it can get hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable in the club, but we can’t reiterate enough that wearing masks – and keeping them on as much as possible – protects EVERY member of the party community from viral exposure. While you’re inside the club, here are the ONLY acceptable reasons to remove your mask:

  • To sip – nay, chug! – your beer, shot, or cocktail.
  • To catch your breath after vigorous dancing.
  • To smile at someone attractive…. from six feet away.

That’s really it. Especially considering that every. single. time. that you reach for your mask to pull it off or adjust it, you’re putting yourself at needless additional risk by touching your face. Just….. no. Don’t do it if you don’t need to, ¿por favor amigo?

8. Limit your loud talking or singing along to the music.

You’re already risking life and limb to save your sanity and get out and party, so there’s no need to take on additional danger. Simply put: yelling or singing has been shown to accelerate transmission of the droplets. So, dance your butt off like there’s no tomorrow, and pump your fists like a second relapse lockdown is coming next weekend. (Editor’s Note: it probably is, LOL.) But hey, NO SINGING ALONG – IDGAF if it’s your song, dude!!!! – and no yelling above the music to tell your homies something trivial. Just enjoy your night responsibly and be a team player.

9. Consider spending the extra money to get a VIP table / section.

It’s pretty clear that the safest spot to be inside any nightclub during these trying times is not on the dance floor, at the bar, or chillin’ in any of the GA areas, but rather in the one part of the club that doubles as the most spacious, most comfortable, and most effective “social distancing” method to from which to enjoy the revelry. If you just paid top dollar to cop a professional-grade mask and a pre-party coronavirus test, then why not go the extra mile in the name of safety to book a VIP table, enjoy the party to the fullest, and give peace of mind to your crew? After all that you’ve gone through over the past few months, you’re most certainly worth it. Hey, we’re not saying it’s a matter of life and death, but… (Too soon???)

10. Choose wisely: outdoor and open-air venues are the safest.

You’ve read this far, so we MUST assume that you’ve checked off all the above boxes and are still seriously considering going out. Again, no judgment… and you, ma’am (or sir) truly are a die-hard clubhead. But before you go forth into the wild night, this simple-to-understand article detailing the science of viral spread and mitigation is a MUST-READ. TL;DR:

  1. Successful Infection = Exposure to Virus x Time
  2. Nightclubs are probably going to be THE RISKIEST social gathering medium in the months to come
  3. Regardless, adjustments to personal behavior among crowds can greatly reduce community health risks

If after skimming that post, you ab-so-tive-ly pos-o-lute-ly still need to scratch that clubbing itch, then hey we’ve done everything in our power to coach you up to this point. But here’s one last super-important tip from that post: outdoor club venues will keep you safer from viral exposure than indoor club venues, by a long shot. The multidirectional (fancy word for “random”) flows of air disperse potential airborne particles more effectively, better keeping viral loads concentrations below infection-causing levels. Slightly more risky are indoor venues with partial open-air exposure, and after that well-ventilated indoor venues with large open spaces (e.g. warehouses). And you guessed it: small, poorly ventilated venues with packed crowds and few aisles and walkways yield the highest exposure risk. So in this post-pandemic world, now you should add venue architecture to things like location, music, and crowd as important criteria in choosing your clubbing experience.

Conclusion

Everything we’ve just covered above figures to be common sense, but the world has been so turned upside-down by coronavirus that we all could use a friendly and well-meaning nudge back in the right direction. Plus, it’s been SO LONG for all of us since our last proper party that we’re chomping at the bit to get back… yet we need to do so in a cautious, prudent manner that allows the party to burn brighter and rage longer into the summer. We got “New Rules” – and following them will ensure your own safety and the safety of your nearby (but not too near!) fellow clubheads as you return to bobbing heads and pumping fists in unison for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.


Planning a post-quarantine “return to normalcy” night out with friends soon? Discotech is your ultimate solution for lining up your big plans. We’ve already built our reputation helping THOUSANDS of satisfied clients around the world with their standard small group party needs.

  • We’ve been featured on BBC Travel and we are also highly reviewed on Yelp! and in both the App Store and Google Play.
  • We have 6+ years experience in the worldwide nightlife game, and we’ve also successfully serviced dozens of corporate entities and large groups of 50 or more clients.
  • We work with 1500+ venues, events, and festivals in 100+ domestic and international city markets, and we know from our experience that party planning is NOT for the unprepared, lazy, nor the faint of heart.

Failure to plan ahead – even if it’s just days or hours ahead – is one of the biggest mistakes that we see countless groups make on a weekly basis, and it inevitably results in financial and logistical headaches – and embarrassing moments at the velvet ropes of entry – that could easily have been avoided. Not only can we help you lock down all your plans in advance and custom tailor a party plan for your group size and budget, but we will also provide a real-time assistance via our help line and hosts on the ground to make sure your experience goes smoothly – everyone gets in quickly, all your bottles arrive, you aren’t over charged, etc. When it comes to partying peace of mind, Discotech is your one-stop shop!

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