Learning From Tel Aviv, The Future of Night Life

With the months flying by and an increasing reality of an end in sight to the COVID pandemic, more and more consideration is being made to what the future of Britain’s nightlife will look like. The Prime Minister’s announcement of 21st June as the earliest possible date for the end of social restrictions spawned hundreds of memes about the start of summer, but a realistic prediction for UK nightlife is still very much uncertain. A possible suggestion has been widespread lateral flow testing, with clubbers waiting in the queue for fifteen minutes to wait for their results and entry. But realistically, the test is an uncomfortable experience, and scientific concerns have been expressed about groups congregating whilst waiting for results and the possibility of false-positives and false-negatives. The logistics alone would give anyone a nightmare.

A more plausible future, then, perhaps is the approach taken in Tel Aviv. Widespread vaccinations in Israel means that the capital has a ‘green card’ system in place, meaning anyone who can provide an app or printed certificate proving vaccination can take part in cultural events. Nightclubs and venues are technically allowed to reopen from 7th March. Gatherings of 20 people indoors and 50 people outdoors will be legalized, so there’s feasible hope that the number will expand as the vaccination continues. 67 per cent of Tel Aviv’s residents received their first jab by 18th February, so there’s reasonably hope that it won’t be long. This is all still up in the air though, and there’s a sense that Tel Aviv might be the staging ground for this type of approach.

Already there’s been some problems, however. The system was launched by health minister Yuli Edelstein on February 19th, and there’s already reports that a black market for fake vaccination certificates has emerged, where over 100,000 people have joined groups offering passes for purchase on Telegram. The plausibility of applying this approach to Britain also doesn’t take into account the number of people, with the UK population being over five times that of the Israeli. And of course, the most telling sign: a reluctance by UK politicians to support the idea.

The pass system certainly offers a feasible suggestion of how the UK nightlife sector could move forward, though. The brief interlude where bars were allowed to open last year, alongside compliancy with COVID regulations, shows just how quickly and willing the industry is to adapt. But the approach in Tel Aviv seems cautious rather than optimistic, and all regulations are still up in the air, much like Boris Johnson’s fabled date for the end of regulations. Therefore, as with everything over the last twelve months, we’ll just have to wait and see.

More News

Sign up for our newsletter