COVID-19: Thousands head to UK’s first club night in more than a year for coronavirus safety pilot event

Clubbers have returned to the dancefloor after more than a year’s wait – for a COVID safety pilot event in Liverpool.

Some 6,000 partygoers are expected at the First Dance event, which stretches across two-nights from Friday at the city’s warehouse nightclub Circus.

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By 2pm on Friday, as it opened to thumping music, elated clubbers ran through the doors cheering.

Ticket-holders did not need to socially distance or wear face coverings, but they did need proof of a negative COVID test result before being allowed in.

The event is part of the national Events Research Programme (ERP) to see how venues can safely re-open.

The scheme saw 8,000 fans allowed into Wembley Stadium to watch Manchester City play Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup final last weekend following an earlier successful semi-final trial.

Sky’s North of England correspondent Katerina Vittozzi was at the nightclub opening, with 3,000 set to attend on Friday and another 3,000 on Saturday.

One attendee said she felt “like a kid on Christmas Eve” as she got ready to go out.

Ashleigh, 19, and Katie, also 19, were among the first in the door.

“The atmosphere is just amazing,” Ashleigh said.

“We’ve been able to go outside of bars and pubs but the atmosphere going to an event is just so different.”

Katie added: “We’ve missed it and this one has been done so well – everyone has tested negative to get in.

“You feel so much safer. And the DJs look so happy to be playing to a crowd again.”

The line-up includes Fatboy Slim, Jayda G and DJ Yousef Zahar, who is also the co-owner of Circus Liverpool.

Organisers have stressed the event does not carry a risk to public health.

DJ Yousef said: “Together with the team at Liverpool City Council, we have safely crafted these events, with a singular focus to help the UK get closer to life beyond COVID, which for myself and Circus has been a great honour.”

Coronavirus has crippled the nightclub industry with many venues forced to make staff redundant, as they have not been allowed to reopen since closing at the start of the very first lockdown in March 2020.

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