Clubbing and pubbing is back! This is a really exciting time, and after a difficult year and a half, you might be rearing to get out and celebrate the start of year.
However, it remains important to be mindful of the natural rise in cases we are seeing across the UK, especially amongst younger generations – who are less likely to be fully vaccinated – are moving around the country for the start of the academic year, and spend more time in bars and clubs.
In place of national restrictions, it is now up to us to be mindful of one another. We all have a responsibility to be respectful in our communities and be aware of other people’s boundaries – many people are still shielding or anxious about the lifting of restrictions.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and the wider community whilst out having fun?
- Maintain a regular COVID-19 testing routine. Not only does this help to keep your mind at ease, but it is a vital preventative measure that helps stop the spread of the virus. Make sure to update the NHS Test and Trace app with your test results to help prevent the closure of nightlife industries and local businesses, and to keep those around you informed of any risk.
- Abide by each business’ rules. Clubs, pubs and bars should all have detailed COVID safety information on their website or signposted around the venue. Although there are no blanket rules each business must follow, the government has released some guidance. You should expect many venues to still have coronavirus measures in place to protect the safety of staff and visitors e.g. social distancing, table service and mask-wearing when up and about.
- Make some space. Although social distancing is no longer obligatory, if you feel crowded, trust your gut. Stick with the people you know, take a breather outdoors, or move to a different venue entirely. Queuing for the toilets and ordering at the bar are likely to be hotspots, so try to keep as much distance as possible in these settings.
- Plan ahead. Some bigger events and venues require you to present proof of a negative test result or your vaccine certificate; make sure you have the NHS app downloaded on your phone ahead of nights out to save you getting turned away at the door.
- Stay in the know. Keep up to date with the news and any possible changes in restrictions.
- Get vaccinated. Coronavirus hasn’t gone away, and it’s down to us to keep each other safe. We strongly recommend all students get vaccinated for not just your own safety but also your lecturers, peers, friends, bar staff and the wider community.
Having safe and responsible fun doesn’t just involve staying alert to coronavirus measures.
Plan your journey home before you go out, look out for each other when you’ve had a few drinks and make sure you travel home with friends. We’ve put together a list of other ways you can stay safe on nights out; from the Safe Taxi Scheme and SafeZone, to ways you can report an incident. We also advise you to make use of our safety tips, resources and safe spaces, both on campus and around the city.
It’s important to be mindful of the fact that your tolerance for alcohol is likely to be a lot lower than it was before lockdown; so take things steady. There’s no pressure to go crazy just because we’re now out of lockdown. Only you know your limits and what you feel comfortable with – if you don’t want to drink, or just want to take things a little slower, that’s okay. If you feel overwhelmed being in a crowded noisy place for the first time in a while, make sure you’re kind to yourself and your mates – stick together and check-in with each other throughout the night.
If you do decide to have a drink, make sure you eat something first, drink lots of water and limit the types of alcohol you mix in one night. Read our guidance on alcohol safety and tips on taking care of yourself. Make sure to not leave your drink unattended, be cautious when accepting drinks from strangers – especially if you didn’t see it get made – and be mindful of any changes in the way your drink looks, tastes or smells.
Every year there are reports of students falling into canals on nights out, so it’s also important that you don’t walk home alongside the water after drinking: find a better route. For more advice and information visit the Manchester Water Safety Partnership website.