Ocean’s Andy Hoe tells us his plans for ‘freedom day’ as nightclubs are set to reopen on July 19

England’s lockdown restrictions are set to be lifted on Monday, July 19, allowing nightclubs to finally reopen.

The fourth stage of lockdown easing will see the removal of face coverings, social distancing, and the rule of six, as well as the reopening of venues that had to remain closed since the pandemic has begun.

Boris Johnson confirmed the final step of the roadmap to freedom on Monday, July 12, by assessing the number of COVID-19 cases against the vaccination rates in England.

Owner of the Ocean nightclub Andy Hoe, 49, explained his plans for the big reopening.

Speaking exclusively to Platform, he said: “We have simply moved all the nights from the previous reopening to the new week, it seemed the simplest way of doing it, and most people seem to still be around and ready to get in Ocean again!

“I’m not planning on selling to full capacity, I’m going to leave a bit of spare room, but I think we will reach the limit I set on the nights, hopefully.

“There definitely seems to be a lot of interest for sure, I think once the announcement is made on the 12th, students will be counting down the days!”

Owner of the Ocean nightclub Andy Hoe and DJ Vimto pictured together (Credit: Steve Hodgkinson)

Covid testing and vaccine passports are being encouraged by the government to be used when entering venues such as nightclubs, as the Prime Minister warned that “the pandemic is not over”.

Andy Hoe said: “It is a tough call to say whether it is a wise decision to remove Covid guidelines but the country has to get back to normal, this can’t go on indefinitely.

“The numbers are no doubt going to go up but based on how it looks – so far serious cases, hospitalizations etc. are still low in comparison to similar numbers earlier this year – it looks like the vaccines are doing their job.”

Nightclubs, which usually bring approximately £66 billion to the UK’s economy each year, have had to remain closed since March 2020.

However, the nightclub sector has received little support from the government.

Andy Hoe said he received £1,500 every two weeks during the lockdown months when his nightclub was on for its best trading year ever before the first lockdown hit.

However, there are mixed feelings amongst students as to whether they will go clubbing or not, as COVID-19 restrictions have been in place for the past 16 months.

Ross MacDonald, 19, a first-year Economics with International Finance and Banking student at NTU said: “I most likely won’t go clubbing as too many people will be rushing so I am going to wait until the university term starts.

“Restrictions need to be lifted at some point although I don’t think clubs need to open right now because many students have gone home.”

Due to the pandemic, first-year students missed out on a typical freshers’ week, as well as experiencing a crowded nightclub pre-Covid.

Ross MacDonald added: “This would be my first time going clubbing because I didn’t get to go beforehand.

“Because I never had a freshers’ or any prior clubbing experience I didn’t and still don’t know what I am missing.”

Maja Borciuch, 20, a second-year Psychology student at NTU said: “Clubs are one of the things I haven’t missed that much during the pandemic but it would probably be a waste of an opportunity to not go once they open.

“It’s been a really long time since we were allowed to, after all, so I imagine I will go clubbing.”

With regards to the recent news of restrictions being lifted, Maja Borciuch said: “I think it’s possible to feel excited to live without restrictions while also considering the drawbacks, it’s very surreal.”

Andy Hoe plans to release tickets for ‘Week 2’ Friday for University of Nottingham students and Saturday for Nottingham Trent students, then reassess Ocean nights for August.

Lead image: Shannon Samecki

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