"Let's see in 2022 the best we can" - Blackpool nightclubs get green-light to open for New Years Eve

Trilogy DJ, Jason Fubar, and the No 3 cocktail bar get ready to celebrate as English hospitality venues escaped further restrictions in the latest Government announcement

Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 8:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 10:33 am

Blackpool nightclubs are preparing for a night to remember after they were given the green light for New Years Eve parties to go ahead.

The announcement on Monday 27 December was the news the hospitality industry had hoped for after losing out on the festive trading period in December 2020.

Health secretary, Sajid Javid, said there would be no restrictions on social gatherings beyond the Plan B measures. This means that nightclubs can open for revellers on New Year's Eve and there will be no limits on numbers in pubs.

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Trilogy nightclub prepares to open for NYE

Covid passes will be mandatory for large events, and party-goers are advised to test themselves before heading out.

The Number Three cocktail bar on Devonshire Road is preparing for New Years Eve celebrations. General manager, Kieran Dixon, said he watched Ireland, Scotland and Wales announce stricter measures, but ‘had an inkling’ it would go ahead as normal in England.

Mr Dixon said: “The Government hasn't got a leg to stand on after the Christmas party scandal. If they'd have closed us all down I think people would have just had house parties everywhere.”

The venue, on the corner of Devonshire Road and Newton Drive, has enjoyed a busy Christmas period in their sports bar. Kieran hopes for normality, but isn’t thinking too far ahead. “Who knows what January is going to bring. I just want us all to have a good time this New Years Eve. Let’s see in 2022 the best we can.”

Bar owner and DJ, Jason Fubar, had been apprehensive leading up to the announcement. He said: “We were half expecting bad news - knowing we can open for New Years Eve is exciting.”

Pubs and clubs have suffered a fall in numbers in the run up to Christmas as fears around Omicron have crept in. Venues across the UK reported mass cancellations, and UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls described the latest announcement as a “lifeline” for the sector.

Nicholls said: “This will give a real lifeline for many who have struggled with the loss of trade in the run-up to Christmas and the loss of new year on top of that would have been devastating for many.”

This is especially true in Blackpool, which relies on tourism and where many businesses remain closed in the months leading up to Easter.

Jason, who owns Fubar's Rum Bar (formerly Marley’s Rum Bar) on North Promenade, said: “Blackpool venues rely on the new year because the town can get very quiet in January and February. This news tips the balance and means we can stay open and turn a profit.”

He had been worried about the financial impact on his staff if his pub couldn’t open over the new year period. “This means we can pay our staff, they all get their hours. We didn’t want anyone to be out of work.”

On Boxing Day, Fubar DJ’d at Trilogy Nightclub on Talbot Square and said that the busy crowds showed a real appetite for people wanting to hit the bars.

“I really think people want to get out. There was a trend of New Year's Eve events being poorly attended in the last ten years, but because we were all completely closed last year I really think it will be a busy night. Most of the booths have sold out at Trilogy.”

Both venues have hand sanitising stations, and have bouncers checking that clubbers have either a negative test or covid passport.

“We tell people to exercise common sense,” said Jason.

Dave Preston owner of high street app Offigo, which is based in Blackpool said “It's the first time since 2019 where people are able to go out and celebrate New Year’s Eve. The uncertainty at the start of December led to many Christmas bookings being cancelled in bars and restaurants, now however, people can book for a night out with confidence their party will go ahead. It is also worth noting the hospitality trade has put more safety measures into their venues, than any other industry”.

Michael Kill, Night Time Industries Association CEO, said the sector was "pleased that the prime minister has listened to us".

He said: “Our industry can now start to plan with some certainty over the next week, and make up for lost time promoting one of the key nights of the year in the coming days."

He also urged the government to generate a long-term strategy for managing Covid variants, saying the "open, close strategy, which has had an huge impact on our industry, is not sustainable.”

A spokesperson for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said: “It is good news to know that we are staying open at new year. This festive trade is very important for the sector to see us through the winter.

“We hope this decision is a positive signal for the future as we enter 2022. We wish to trade our way to recovery.

“However, pubs and brewers will need more certainty going forwards to allow businesses and customers to plan ahead with confidence.”

Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, said there would “obviously be some relief” but called for help to improve ventilation in venues and “more clarity” on the government’s long-term vision.