Freedom Day: London Nightclubs Reopen After 17 Months of Closure

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Freedom Day: London Nightclubs Reopen After 17 Months of Closure” – below is their description.

So long social distancing, goodbye working from home. That was the plan, anyway. Yet while almost all restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus have now been lifted in England, sharply rising levels of Covid-19 mean the country is nowhere near returning to “normal.”

“Freedom Day” — as part of the British press have dubbed today — is no end-of-pandemic celebration. Many major employers will go on limiting the number of workers who can enter their offices. Others, like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will continue making masks mandatory in their buildings even though the government has relaxed the rules. If you return to the office now, it will look very different to the one you left 16 months ago.

With cases and hospitalizations rising, the return to normality is likely to be slow and faltering. But if you do venture into central London, here are five things to watch for:

You Risk Being Told to Self-Isolate

There’s one key reason why London-based workers are expected to remain reticent about heading into the city over the next month: the risk either of contracting Covid-19 or coming into close contact with an infected person.

Offices Aren’t Filling Up

Offices themselves, the reasons so many millions of people leave their homes and travel into cities each week, remain some 30% less busy than they were before March 2020.

The Tube Is Still Unpopular

Crowded spaces with poor ventilation are almost tailor-made for spreading Covid-19. Despite London’s transport authorities’ best attempts to reassure travelers, busy Underground services around peak-time travel are impossible to make entirely safe.

Lunchtime Isn’t What It Used to Be

Shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs were allowed to reopen in stages over the spring, and most are counting on commuters to return to their offices for their survival. But it’s been a slow process.

But You Might Be Able to Get a Table

Indoor dining reopened in May across England, and outdoor dining has been legal since the chilly days of spring. But data from restaurant booking provider OpenTable Inc. shows that reservations in the capital are picking up more slowly than in the rest of the U.K.

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