For Nigerians itching to go out for a nice dinner or to hang with their friends at their favourite rooftop bar, are dusting off their shiny shoes and pressing their fancy attire because they can now go blow off some steam. After nearly five months of lockdown, this is a good sign that things may be slowly getting back to “normal” and weary residents can now go and socialize, eat and drink with pallys that have been sulking in quarantine.
Bar and restaurant owners are also delighted that they can open their doors and kitchens so they can begin recouping some of the millions of lost revenue in the last several months. Nightlife in Lagos is ubiquitous. Lagosians are fond of drinking and dancing throughout the night in joyous revelry while spending copious amounts of cash in the process.
Scanning the nightlife scene in Lagos in the last week, we noticed drastic increase in activity and many establishments have opened their doors for business. Many proprietors have taken the safe approach and are working within the guidelines of government protocols.
New Time New Rules
Since Covid-19 is still hanging around, business owners have to adapt to a new way of service. When we went to a rooftop bar at a Victoria Island hotel recently, we were greeted at the door with a temperature gun, sanitizer, and signage posted that spelled out the new policies and the requirement for facial coverings – this was a welcomed approach and it made us feel more comfortable. The capacity of the bar was reduced as they had removed several sections of seats and tables.
Nigerians who are not the best at social distancing, were laughing , hugging and dancing as if they had been restricted from hanging out for several months- oh wait…they had! It was a great site to see and we felt the cooped up energy releasing with each extra drink.
Bars do have restrictions to contend with. Since there is a local curfew in place from 10pm- 4am, establishments must lock their doors by 10pm. These business will also have to deal with surprise visits from government officials to spot check the locations to ensure compliance – this too is a good thing, and will help build confidence for the reluctant few that are still nervous about enjoying the night life scene.
These harsh but needed rules will make it difficult for the smaller and less equipped sites and it may send many locking their doors for good.
Meanwhile, we ordered two more rounds of guinness and a plate of appetizers and enjoyed ourselves until the lights turned off and we were politely ushered down the stairs. We hope more establishments open and we pray that the disease will not spread further and it will allow us to come together and carry on with our lives. Bottoms up.