Tuesday, July 14, 2020
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Dancing with disinfectant: Shanghai’s nightclubs come to life as virus concerns ease

Nightclubs in most of China have mostly come back to life as owners and patrons grow confident that the country has put the coronavirus epidemic under control, but disinfectant, disposable cups and masks have become part of the experience.

44KW, a club for electronic music lovers in the financial hub of Shanghai, re-opened in mid-March after a near two-month-long closure and on a recent Friday night was teeming with customers, who sat, danced and mingled close to each other.

The club, however, still takes multiple precautions. It checks the temperatures and health codes of each visitor and asks them to register their personal details before they enter.

Its staff, including bouncers, bartenders and waiters wear masks and gloves all the time. It has replaced some glasses with disposable plastic cups and has installed hand sanitizer dispensers on the club’s indoor walls.

The club owner Charles Guo told Reuters that the reopen was not anticipated, and they were contemplating shutting down completely during the coronavirus outbreak. “Suddenly we were told one day that we could reopen. We felt “wow” we can now survive,” he added. 

Door handles and toilets in the bathroom are disinfected every hour, according to Guo, while the entire club is disinfected daily, before and after opening hours.

Still the risk of a second outbreak continues to loom. A cluster of coronavirus cases linked to a handful of Seoul nightclubs emerged in South Korea earlier this month, prompting officials to re-shutter some nightclubs and bars.

“I am not worried. Because Shanghai is in very good control. So we feel safe to come out to club at night,” said a 29-year-old clubber named Ricky Li who said nightlife in Shanghai has roughly returned to normalcy.

China has seen a sharp fall in locally transmitted cases since March. On Monday it reported 11 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the mainland on May 24, all of which were imported cases involving travellers from overseas. 

(Production: Xihao Jiang)

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