Keep Calm and Carry On: How to enjoy nights out safely

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If you were given £10,000 to stay indoors for longer, to not attend or host house parties and to socialise with strangers as infrequently as possible, would you comply?

Would you give up raves, house parties or any illegal large social gatherings? Watch out or you could be facing a nasty fine.

As university education is increasingly being seen as a business transaction, students are often depicted as childish, immature and selfish consumers. Stereotypically, students complain about high tuition fees while spending the majority of their time drunk – all of which, is paid for by government loans. With the pandemic having caused a huge strain on the entertainment industry, questions concerning the future of Leeds nightlife have arisen.

Students need to imbibe the Keep Calm and Carry On mantra.

Students need to imbibe the Keep Calm and Carry On mantra. They need to say no to illegal gatherings because they cannot risk the loss of their beloved pubs which rely heavily on student support – especially in this tough economic period. Only when young people begin to abide by social distancing rules, will the possibility of nightclubs reopening become a
reality. Equally, the implementation of COVID-secure events could provide students with a chance to create a new reputation for themselves.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been an astonishing success. Crucially, it has instilled a sense of positivity within members of the public whilst providing the economy with a well-needed boost. The Chancellor would be deft to pursue a similar policy to rehabilitate our cities’ club scene and support the approximately three-hundred thousand members of staff in the associated industries. Rishi Sunak needs to implement a scheme which will both encourage students to enjoy the night scene again but safely. The re-opening of clubs with limited social distancing is likely to cause a huge spike in infection rates.

Students do not want to risk the lives of others and we want to keep our local establishments’ and local culture alive. These do not have to be contradictory aims for anyone of us. It is the government’s responsibility to come up with targeted solutions, and students must adhere to keep the infection rates low. If the state chipped into the entertainment industry, it could embolden students to go on socially distanced nights-out.

Realistically, there needs to be a better alternative for illegal parties than the dreaded zoom drinks get-together. Over the past week, news broke that eight people had been fined £10,000 each over the Bank Holiday weekend for organising illegal parties in the Headingley and Burley area. This is a testament that many grownups, sadly, are not very grown-up.
Though not necessarily student-led, the named suspect was a 27-year-old. Such selfish acts are being used as a stark deterrent for the return of university students.

Proximity within student areas and the increased number of young adults returning from all over the country is most certainly going to cause an increase in infections. Although students must be mindful that young people are more likely to be asymptomatic. However, this does not stop the spread. Local lockdowns are on the rise and no-one wants to risk campus being closed as a result of a mismanaged easing of the lockdown.

Students have the power to bring life back to university towns, help avert a second wave and be role models for future generations on how to socially navigate such an unprecedented crisis. Be sensible yourself, act for others and then the government should seriously consider reducing this year’s tuition. Have socially distanced fun. Prove our worth.

Séamus O’Hanlon

Featured Image Source: Dean Machala

Embedded Image Source: Nick Fewings