'We just have to party!': Nightclubs open their doors at midnight as England eases Covid rules

ITV News asked club goers how they felt to be going into a night club for the first time in 16 months

Nightclubs have thrown open their doors to revellers for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Partygoers were ecstatic to see the reopening of their favourite clubs, with queues forming around the block until midnight arrived and almost all coronavirus restrictions in England were eased.

Some described the occasion as "pure happiness" and many wanted to "let their hair down" after over a year of clubs being closed.

Indoor nightclubs have been shut since March last year, and have remained the only hospitality venues to not reopen at any point during the pandemic.

Queues went around the block outside the London Reign Club as clubbers began queuing well before midnight.

Lockdown rules in England: What's changing from July 19

What has happened to social distancing and the rule of six?

The 'one metre plus' rule has been scrapped entirely, as of July 19 in England. However, some guidance to maintain social distancing in certain situations will remain in place of the legal restrictions.

Social distancing guidance will continue if someone is Covid positive and self-isolating, or in airports, or other ports of entry, to avoid travellers arriving from amber or red-list countries mixing with those from green list areas.

Limits on social contact in England have disappeared, meaning the end of the rule of six indoors and the limit of 30 people for outdoor gatherings.

Do I still need to wear a face mask?

There is now no legal requirements to wear face coverings - but guidance still encourages using masks in some settings, including hospitals, healthcare settings and in crowded enclosed public spaces.

Has the working from home guidance changed?

The guidance on working from home has gone. It's ultimately down to employers to decide whether to keep staff at home or in the office, but the government say employers are able to plan the return of staff to the workplace.

What about weddings and funerals?

The current limits on numbers of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events has ended.

What's happening in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?

The changes to Covid rules announced by Boris Johnson, only impact England and will not change regulations in Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland.

The Welsh Government “would like to move together” with other parts of the UK in lifting coronavirus restrictions but will only do so if it is “right for Wales”, health minister Eluned Morgan said on Monday 5 July.

As of July 19, restrictions in Scotland have eased, with all areas of the country moving to level 0. The government is aiming to lift all major restrictions in Scotland by August 9.

In Northern Ireland, some significant restrictions have already been eased including allowing the resumption of live music and the lifting of caps on organised outdoor gatherings.

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Natalia Bond, who was one of those waiting in the queue, said she has needed a night out for a long time.

"I'm a key worker so I've been working through all the lockdowns so I just feel like I want to let my hair down," she told ITV News.

Although Ms Bond did admit some safety concerns, she said "at the same time not so much".

The excitement was just as noticeable outside China White in London.

Clubbers at Heaven nightclub in London welcome the return to the dancefloor

"As soon as I heard the news, I booked the tables straight away and I got the bottles in. We just have to party!" said Craig Knight from Essex.

"I'm double vaccinated and I'm safe, I'm just happy to be out partying again."

Inside the Piano Works in London it was a celebration like New Year's Eve as confetti fell from the ceiling.

The night was a celebration for those working in the night club sector too.

Night club manager Aaron Sinkia told ITV News his relief of opening his club after 16 months

Aaron Sinkia, general manager of The Cuckoo Club in Mayfair, was relieved to be back in work after 16 months.

He said: "We're super excited, we have been closed for 16 months so to be able to reopen again is incredible. Finally we've got that release that everyone has been holding on for.

"We're back, we're open and it's exciting times!"

People queue outside the London Reign Club just before midnight on Monday.

Mr Sinkia also expressed the struggle he and his colleagues have experienced over the past year and the relief at no longer being on the government's furlough scheme.

He said: "The last year has been really tough, not only on our industry but the whole country has felt it.

"But with nightclubs, we were the first to close and last to open."

A man jumps on the dance floor shortly after the reopening, at The Piano Works in Farringdon. Credit: AP

He added: "Our staff were all furloughed, myself included, so to be able to come back and open and operate how we used to is a good feeling."

Safety inside the club is also important to Mr Sinkia and his staff, he added: "We have guidelines, our staff has been fully vaccinated.

"We are at a 50% capacity at the moment so we are opening slowly. It's just good to be back, it's an amazing feeling."

Natalie Bond felt that she needed to "let her hair down"

For some, like clubber Naomi Cauchi, the boredom of lockdown encouraged them to go out as the clock struck midnight.

Ms Cauchi said: "It's been so long, I've been sat in my room in a lockdown bored and now the clubs are opening and I'm going back to work.

"I'm really happy, I just want to have fun. I want to try and live life."

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told ITV News the government was working with the nightclub sector in order for them to open up safely.