Revellers took full advantage of mask wearing no longer being compulsory by going clubbing without face coverings.
Throngs of people formed queues outside nightclubs just before midnight to party freely for the first time in over a year, reports the Manchester Evening News.
Cheering as dawn struck, they were able to set foot inside venues and dance the day and night away as clubbing became legal once again after 16 months of restrictions.
It took barely minutes though for the excited crowds to get back into the nightclub swing – with a mixture of elation, excitement and relief as hundreds of people returned to let loose on the dance floor.
It is the first time since lockdown began that people have been allowed, legally, to set foot inside a nightclub without a mask, without social distancing, and without any constraint on their moves and grooves.
Nightspots in London, Brighton, Leeds and Manchester were all packed out with fun-loving clubbers desperate to let themselves go and dance with no worries.
At Club Liv on Deansgate the party began at 00.01 with the deep thud of R ‘n’ B grooves vibrating right to the core of the sweating mass of bodies packing in for that first dance in over a year, with all of the club’s tables sold out weeks in advance of opening night, such was demand for the club’s return.
For many it was emotional returning into the clubbing space for the first time in months, and even for those expressing worries in the queue, it didn’t take long for the music, and the mood, to overtake those concerns once inside the basement club.
Groups of girls writhed in time to the music – before heading to the plush restrooms to apply make-up, have a singalong and take a spritz of perfume.
Rebecca Webb, 21, was with a group of girls at Club Liv for their friend Siobhan’s 21st birthday. They had planned a special trip in Manchester around the lockdown easing to celebrate in style.
Rebecca said: “It has been a really nice atmosphere tonight and everyone seems so happy to be back out again.
“I think everyone is hoping this is how it will stay now if people are sensible about it.”
Particularly for the younger age groups the nightclub reopening was finally a chance to interact, in the flesh, up close and personal, with their peers in one huge, hypnotic, swaying crowd of sweat, song and seductive sway to live, throbbing, disco beats.
Amorous intentions were swiftly acted upon without as much as a second thought inside the city’s clubs now that all rules on social distancing have been thrown out.
Clubbers themselves seemed unworried about the steep rise in coronavirus cases in recent days, and barely any were seen wearing masks in the early hours of Monday, now that the mandatory requirement inside such venues has been removed.
For staff returning to the nightclub sector however there was some sense of trepidation – with many of the city centre’s operators deciding to continue with mask wearing for staff and with enhanced safety measures like temperature checks on the door.
But there was also relief that for the nightclub sector, there was the start of some kind of “return to normality” in the early hours today.
At The Factory on Princess Street, the queues formed all afternoon on Sunday, as students and indie kids took their place to be a part of the return to “normality”.
Once midnight had passed, a sweaty mass of bodies filled up the club’s three dance floors, partying with abandon.
Meanwhile in Manchester’s Gay Village the streets were buzzing with revellers, and at the Cruz 101 nightclub bosses were celebrating the lifting of restrictions by opening up until 8am today.
As the week progresses, more and more of the city’s nightclub spaces will return to business, with the hope of a permanent return after this latest lockdown lifting.