UK club venue Switch, in the city of Preston, has successfully reopened its doors following a contentious disagreement with the local city council.
Switch, formerly a club, has effectively reclassified itself as a bar, thereby claiming it is no longer subjected to the stricter lockdown measures that govern nightclubs. Switch's owners say they've cut capacity from 1,200 to 400, added sanitizer stations, and implemented one-way systems for the bar and restrooms, paving the way for them to make the change.
Switch was originally planning to reopen with live music on August 1st, but was prevented from doing so after UK's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, reversed course on easing restrictions for live indoor performances at the last minute.
The club's decision has been met with consternation from both local residents and government. The Preston City Council originally intended to block the reopening, but ultimately allowed it to move forward as a bar.
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Switch's reopening is purportedly contributing to present unease around local COVID-19 concerns in Preston. The area has observed an uptick in cases, increasing from 13 per 100,000 residents to 35 per 100,000 residents in just a week. Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods warns that Preston is "on the cusp of restrictions this week." Regarding Switch's decision, he added, "To open a venue to 500 young people with drink is just not helpful at all."