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Nightlife injection

This week I returned to Groningen after a month in Ireland. It was a relief and a joy to see so many of my family and friends after a year and to catch up with each other. But all was not perfect in Ireland with corona restrictions still fairly heavy there and restrictions are still quite strong here too. But, during my trip I also saw a preview of things to come.

In the middle of August, two weeks into my trip home to Ireland, I made my usual annual pilgrimage to Catton Park in Derbyshire, England. Every year a festival is held there, this year it was attended by 20,000 people with a number of giants in Heavy metal music taking the stage over 5 Days. I attend this with a group of friends, mostly English, who I meet in this hallowed place.

‘20,000 people at a festival?!’ I can hear you cry… ‘Didn’t everyone catch corona?’… well there were only about 500 cases reported as originating at Bloodstock. That’s barely a difference in general COVID cases per 1,000 people in the UK at the time. This was because of an incredibly strict policy of checking vaccination certificates and taking official UK COVID tests before entry. 

Now, as an Irishman, I find it hard to praise anything the British government do. But there’s a valuable lesson here. Last week Groningen saw the ‘UnMute Us’ protest seeking a return to normal nightlife and the UK experience could prove invaluable here. They show that checking vaccine certs and negative COVID tests as requirements for entry work. So, let’s do it and return to student life!

That might not be popular among those who refuse the vaccine. But tough luck. Sure they have a choice to refuse the vaccine, but they don’t have a right to be free from the consequences of their own choices. More outbreaks will happen if it’s easy for large amounts of unvaccinated people to gather indoors pubs and clubs. These venues don’t want to be the site of an outbreak; so refusing entry to those who refuse to help with that out that effort is sensible.

After all, if someone is selfish enough to refuse a vaccine or a corona test (other than for genuine medical reasons) then I’m sure there are other activities they could get up to? Like licking plague rats… or posting online about the results of their own stupid actions as if it’s everyone else’s fault?

They seem to love that!

NIALL TORRIS

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