Nightclub Receives Backlash For Reopening After Repurposing As A Bar
A nightclub in Preston has received backlash for reopening this weekend after repurposing as a bar, with footage showing large crowds at the venue.
Switch Nightclub opened its doors on Saturday 1 August, with tickets for the sold-out evening priced up to £180.
The club's owners decided to 'repurpose' the space after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced live music venues would no longer be allowed to reopen on 1 August as previously planned.
A post on the Switch Facebook page said customers with tickets would be allowed to claim their money back if they didn't fancy the 'bar environment' now on offer under the government guidelines.
"Due to the announcement from Boris yesterday, we have had to repurpose our operation for tonight into a BAR environment," it said.
"We understand that some people might want to hold on for more of a 'live music experience'. If that's the case, you don't need to turn up tonight.
"We will be in contact no later the Tuesday to refund or move over your ticket for when SWITCH LIVE can open. For everyone else, turn up at your allocated ticket time slot tonight."
The club said it had been in conversation with Preston City Council throughout the process, and had sought legal advice.
"It is, and has always been our intension to re open and repurpose SWITCH to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience," the Facebook post added.
Officials at the council had previously confirmed they were trying to stop the club reopening, but found they were unable to do so.
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Just hours before customers were due to arrive at Switch on Saturday night, Councillor Pete Moss said in a statement: "This advice has just come back to inform us that Switch is legally able to repurpose and reopen accordingly.
"This is on the strict basis that Switch proceeds with the agreed safety precautions and do not allow dancing in the venue.
"We appreciate this is a very different position to what we announced earlier. Officers have been working tirelessly to resolve the situation in the best way.
"We do ask all patrons who attend to take the safety precautions very seriously, to prevent further spread of coronavirus in Preston."
Footage from inside the venue on Saturday night showed large crowds dancing around, with many social media users blasting the club for opening.
One person said on Facebook: "Hope you get shut down forever and fined."
Another wrote: "Utterly ridiculous particularly when we are at risk of lockdown again. Can't believe the stupidity of this."
A third added: "Greed before public health and safety, license should be removed and closed down."
The council said officers were 'satisfied' when they visited Switch twice on Saturday night.
The venue has also released a list of safety measures on its website, including reduced capacity and one-way systems.
"We ask that all visitors please pay attention to our social distancing and safety guidance when they visit us," the guidance states.
Switch has released a full statement on its new policies here.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram