‘It is literally a fight to survive’ – harsh reality for nightclubs and security

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dublin’s nightclubs are struggling to survive. The Liberty explores the challenges, the future and the hopes for Dublin’s clubbing scene

Since their closure on March 15, 2020, nightclubs have yet to fully reopen their doors to the public. When Covid-19 first began spreading in Ireland, the initial severity of the virus was unknown to the government. Leo Varadkar [Taoiseach at the time] ordered that clubs and pubs stop trading in an effort to suppress the virus. Initially, nightclubs and pubs were to shut until at least March 29. It has been almost a year since then and there is no indication of what the future holds for Dublin’s nightlife. 

Clubbers enjoy a DJ set with lasers in the Netherlands . Image source:


The road to nowhere? 

As Covid-19 cases continue to soar, the possibility of nightclubs reopening plummets. Ireland is currently at level 5 of the Governments living with Covid plan, nightclubs will still be shut at level 1.

When we reach level 1 and nightclubs eventually re-open. In an interview with RTE , Dj Sunil Sharpe touched on the possibility that people will be separated into different social circles. He said: “You’re not going to be dancing on the dance floor where there are hundreds of people close together. You will probably be in a designated zone where you and your friends will dance within”. Sharpe’s statement is a major blow to the nightclub industry. If we can’t enjoy them to their full capacity are the nightclubs even worth opening? One could argue the same about pubs, however they still provide a sense of comfort that we crave.  

The forgotten industry 

Whilst nightclubs are still suffering the consequences of Covid-19 restrictions, the security industry, has gotten lost in the madness.  

Victor Ellis, a private security firm owner in Dublin, provided the Liberty with an insight into the issues that his business sector are facing.  

“One of the biggest hurdles for businesses during this pandemic is managing costs like rent and insurance. We tried to renegotiate post lockdown, but the insurers would not engage, these types of overheads have a profoundly negative impact on the survival of my business whilst they are not trading or trading at a minimum,” Ellis told the Liberty. 

A crowd soaks up the nightclub atmosphere. Image source:

“The knock-on effect for our business will be significant. Our business model is straight forward: ‘Supply and demand’, it will take some time to replenish the staff we have lost as a result of the pandemic,” Ellis said. 

However, Ellis remains optimistic about the future of the industry, he said: “It is literally a fight to survive and it’s very important to remain optimistic and as focused as possible.

‘Every cloud has a silver lining’- we hope that the roll out of vaccinations will restore some normality across the world this year.” 

Victor ellis.

How have Dublin’s nightclubs adapted?  

Take-away drinks had been a popular method that has kept many businesses going. However, they didn’t stand the test of time. As cases soared in November, so did the retweets of a video emerging from Dublin’s South William Street which showcased members of the public gathering in large groups with no masks in sight and takeaway pints in their hands.

After this incident in mid-November, take-away pints became heavily scrutinized. Taoiseach, Michael Martin, made the decision to ban them. During a media briefing in early January, the Taoiseach said: “First of all, forget about take-away pints and take-away alcohol”. As cases drop it is highly possible that take-away pints may be permitted once again, but nothing is certain in these times.  

The closure of nightclubs has meant Saturday evenings are spent watching live streams of a DJ playing dance classics in the comfort of our own homes or reliving old memories from our phone’s camera roll. Although we have all found ways of coping with the pandemic, it remains to be seen if nightclubs will be able to cope without us, for much longer. 

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