Nightclubs in China have mostly come back to life as owners and customers feel increasingly comfortable the novel coronavirus epidemic is under control, but disinfectant, disposable cups and masks have become part of the experience.
At 44KW, a club for electronic music lovers in the financial hub of Shanghai, customers sat, danced and mingled with little sign of social distancing on the weekend.
The club re-opened in mid-March after closing for about six weeks, but it took a while for business to get back to normal.
“There really weren’t many clients as most people were quite worried about their safety,” said Charles Guo, founder of 44KW.
“Our client flow began to recover quickly towards the end of April”, Guo said, adding that business was back to last year’s average levels by mid-May.
But not everything is like the old days.
The club checks the temperature of every customer and gets them to register their details.
Staff, including bouncers, bartenders and waiters wear masks and gloves all the time. Customers don’t have to wear masks but many do.
Some glasses have been replaced with plastic cups and the club has installed hand sanitizer dispensers throughout.
Door handles and toilets are disinfected every hour while the entire club is disinfected every day before and after opening, Guo said.
Clubs have been at the centre of coronavirus flare-ups in other Asian cities. A cluster of cases linked to clubs emerged in South Korea this month, triggering fears of a second wave of infections and leading to clubs and bars being shut again.
“I checked with my friends about what types of precautions were taken at each venue before deciding which one to go,” 23-year-old clubber Cao Douzi told Reuters outside 44KW.
China, where the coronavirus emerged late last year, has seen a sharp fall in cases since March.