Published: 08:01, 20 July 2021
| Updated: 14:09, 20 July 2021
With so called 'Freedom Day' finally upon us I stepped foot into a nightclub for the first time in 16 months.
Masks are optional and the dance floor is open at ATIK in Dartford, but what was it like to be back, Megan Carr reports.
Elizabeth Young speaks about her experience at ATIK Dartford on 'Freedom Day'
Although I seemed to be the only person that opted to wear a face covering I felt very safe and comfortable at the night club.
My friend and I were greeted by plenty of security guards and friendly members of staff who made sure our ID was all okay while our bags were checked.
The lovely Summer Mitchell and Katrina Fordham checked our IDs for us, which involved our picture being taken on a machine that loads our details onto a computer.
There were sanitation spots dotted around the venue and although the club wasn't heaving with bodies like it was when I had last been before the pandemic, it was nice to see lots of people out again.
I was seated in a booth with my friend all evening, we were even treated to table service. By having a booth I did feel more content, I was happy to be in the club but also pleased to be away from the crowds.
All of the crew and staff at ATIK were extremely helpful and all looked very happy to be back at work.
Our host for the evening was Tegan, she constantly checked on my friend and I, made sure our drinks were never empty and even gave us a bit of a boogie when she brought a bottle of champagne to the table.
ATIK's head host, Daisy, was also on hand to answer any questions and make sure we felt safe.
With three floors to choose from there was more than enough room to dance safely away from the few friendship groups on the main floor.
I decided to wear my mask when dancing and moving around the venue due to personal preference, although not many others where doing the same, everyone made sure to keep their distance and respect each other's boundaries.
ATIK Dartford’s general manager, Jordan Craine said: “Young people have spoken; it’s clear that there is huge demand for clubs to reopen so that they can get back to enjoying themselves after all this time.
"This is reflected in our ticket sales, as we have sold out many of our nights and have laid on extra events to cope with demand.
“It is clear there is a high demand for nightclubs to reopen again and that young people, many of whom have been hit hard by Covid restrictions whilst at university or entering the job market, are excited to enjoy a night out after all this time."
I felt my first night out in more than a year was a success – ATIK and the staff that work there managed to make me feel safe even though restrictions have now been lifted.
Although I still think there is a long way to go until hundreds of us are shoulder to shoulder on the dance floor, ATIK have certainly made a step in the right direction in getting night life back to normal.
Megan's trip came as club bosses hit out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson over plans for making vaccine passports mandatory at nightclubs and other venues.