Swiss club scene reopens slowly with low-capacity events and no social distancing

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Switzerland’s club scene is slowly reopening after laws surrounding events loosened on June 6th.

The latest restrictions, which follow a decrease in new cases of COVID-19 to about 30 or fewer a day, allow indoor events of up to 300 people with a midnight curfew. Venues are permitted to ignore the normal social-distancing rules (two metres) so long as everyone participating in the event is made aware and submits their contact details.

Clubs nationwide, including Audio Club, Folklor, Nordstern, Elysia and Supermarket, have taken advantage of this shift in policy. The Swiss-Chilean DJ Luciano, who lives in Lausanne, headlined events at Weetamix (Geneva) and D! Club (Lausanne) last weekend, where the capacities were 100 and 300 respectively. Both parties ran from 6 PM through midnight.

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“It was a phenomenal feeling, a true sense of hope,” Luciano told Resident Advisor. “We weren’t sure if the events were going to happen, if the police were going to come and shut us down. There were some rules. There was hand sanitiser and some people were wearing masks. At the beginning, there was some separation on the dance floor, but after three or four hours, people were getting closer.”

On June 24th, Switzerland’s Federal Council will decide whether to ease restrictions further and allow events of up to 1,000 people. Larger events are currently banned until August 31st. Overall, the country has tallied more than 31,000 official cases of COVID-19 and nearly 2,000 deaths.

As lockdowns gradually ease around the world, indoor social spaces like bars and clubs have been found to have the highest risk of spread. In early May, authorities in Seoul shut all nightclubs following a spike in COVID-19 cases traced back to one clubber. Similarly, this week in the US, 16 patrons and seven staff members at a bar in Florida tested positive for the virus after one night in the establishment since its reopening.

Watch clips from Weetamix and D!Club last weekend.

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