Clubs are back: "We have lost two years of our lives"

On the first night back open some clubs sell out, with revellers queuing outside

3 min
One of the dance floors of Sala Apolo in Barcelona during this Thursday to Friday night.

Barcelona"We hadn't gone out a single Thursday since we started uni!" Judit, Laia, Tània and Yema are 19 years old, they are from Berga and they have been sharing a flat for two years. But it's the first time they've been able to go out partying in Barcelona because clubs have been closed for a year and half – they've only opened for a couple of few weeks in summer. That's why the girls didn't want to miss the reopening of nightlife: "We were really looking forward to it". The first night could be felt in some clubs in Barcelona, which filled up and saw large queues outside. Everybody had to show their ID and their covid pass to get in, which meant the queues were slow.

Catalan nightclubs could reopen when the clock struck midnight on Thursday, but had it not been for a TV crew throwing confetti, this moment would have gone by unnoticed outside Sala Apolo. At midnight, on Paral·lel in Barcelona, there were few people looking for a place to continue partying. Young people, especially university students, were slower to arrive, even though the tickets were sold out: "There are none left. We sold out in an hour and a half. It was spectacular," said a doorman to a girl who was begging for a spare ticket. Those who had tickets admitted that they had been checking the website "every hour" to buy the tickets as soon as they went on sale.

"The wait has been long, but it will have been worth it," the young women from Berga admitted. They complained that they had met few people because of covid, because they had to stick to a closed circle that they now want to open. "This is the kind of life we should be leading", they say, after recalling that last year they could not go anywhere at night because of the curfew. Alba, Blanca and Inma, aged 20 and 21, are from Mallorca and were even more adamant: "We have lost two years of our lives". The desire to go out has taken precedence over Friday morning classes at university. The girls said that the closure of clubs had meant they have had parties of 20 people at home or on the street. They believe people will continue drinking on the street, because they always have, although there might now be fewer of them.

The doormen at Sala Apolo asked the dozens of people queuing for their Covid passports and ID cards. Before going through the door they had to present these documents as required by the Government. Between 1 am and 2 am the doormen were constantly verifying covid passes and comparing them with IDs. The establishment, which states its capacity is around 2,000 people, which the Government has limited to a maximum of 70%, has exceeded expectations in its reopening. But this first night has not seen the same influx in other clubs on Paral·lel. It is expected that this Friday there will be more nightclubs up and running and that next week the rest will join in.

Red lights

Almost all the covid certificates got green lights – the document was valid – although occasionally a red light came up and this caused despair. For example, when Albert was trying to understand why his covid pass was not valid, he realised that it was 13 days since he had been vaccinated and not 15. He had accompanied a friend to get an antigen test so he could enter, but he thought he didn't need it because he had been vaccinated. The girls from Mallorca explained that they had been vaccinated "under pressure" because they "knew" that the certificate would become a requirement for some places. Other boys commented that they did not have their covid pass: "Shall we risk it? Otherwise we'll have queud up for nothing."

Queues outside Apolo
Doormen checking covid passes

Before 2 a.m. the queue to get into the Sala Apolo was crowded. The young people were in a hurry because the clock was ticking - the venue had to close at 5 o'clock and at weekends it can close at 6 o'clock - while they were also drinking and there were few masks on. A couple of Mossos patrols were watching from the sidewalk next door. Inside the staff watched that the masks were not lowered below the nose and that no one went with drink to the dance floor, which had cordoned off with tapes because you can not consume. As the masks are also indispensable for entering and being inside, except for drinking, there were people outside asking if anyone had an extra one. Another obstacle that adds to the covid certificate and that, in the early hours of the morning, is not so easy to locate.