VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As more B.C. businesses open their doors with COVID-19 restrictions easing, a Metro Vancouver counsellor says there are benefits to reopening nightclubs, particularly when it comes to our younger generations.
Nina Sheere, a registered clinical counsellor, says going out to clubs and socializing with friends can represent key moments in our lives.
“Really considering the population that those establishments serve … and typically it is, younger adults going to places like that to connect with their peers and their communities. Having those places open up again is a really important step in actually inviting youth back into the world,” she explained.
“It’s meant to be a real transitional period in life where we’re kind of stepping away, maybe from our families, we’re more connected to our peers and our groups of friends, and there’s a real move towards independence. What that looks like is potentially moving away from home … getting out more, spending more time with those groups of people, and starting to kind of find our way in the world.”
She says younger people have been hard hit by the pandemic, in a social sense, noting they’ve missed a number of big moments many of us may have taken for granted.
“Graduation from high school, going to the bars for the first time when they become legal, maybe doing some travelling,” Sheere listed. “A lot of youth that I see have really missed out on that, and been kind of stuck in a holding pattern for the past year and a half.”
Under current rules, nightclubs are able to open. However, there is no dancing allowed, patrons must be seated, and there is to be no socializing between tables.
Group limits have been lifted, with businesses now able to set those at their own discretion. Liquor serving hours have also returned to usual.
And while many may be eyeing a return to the dance floor, Sheere says some people may be feeling a little anxious.
“I’m kind of seeing people falling into two categories: the group that is very excited and ambitious about getting back out there, and then there’s this second group of people … that are extremely anxious about moving back into the world and going back into public spaces,” she explained.
She says in addition to fears around COVID-19, she’s also seeing social anxiety which, she admits, may have been present before, but has been amplified by the pandemic.
“I think it’s really important as we start going into phase three that everyone starts to take some steps within their own comfort levels in re-integrating back into normal life, so to speak. Whatever that looks like to reengage in the community. Whether it be at bars, or nightclubs, or even restaurants … it’s really important as a way to reconnect with everyone that we’ve really only been seeing virtually for the last year and a half and to get back out there,” Sheere said.
B.C.’s nightclubs were ordered to close in September, as the province saw its COVID-19 case numbers climb.