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image copyrightdangerous_discoimage captionClubbers will have to wait that bit longer for their post-pandemic blow out

With news the 21 June "freedom day" will be delayed for at least four weeks, club owners and festival organisers share their thoughts.

'Young people are clamouring to enjoy themselves again'image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionNightclubs are one of the last businesses to open

One minute past midnight on 21 June was when Kasbah nightclub in Coventry was planning to make a triumphant return after the pandemic.

The sold-out event promised to be the ultimate party after 16 months of upheaval – and manager Sam El Naqib is still hopeful it will go ahead a few weeks later.

"[With the] new Delta variant that has come around what we do have to do is ensure people's safety, because we're talking about full restrictions lifting in venues," he said.

"In nightclubs people like to get very up close and personal and enjoy themselves – singing, dancing, shouting. You can't really be doing that with restrictions in place or with any risk of this new variant we've got.

"We just have to bide our time until it's safe for everybody to come out and enjoy themselves again.

"We'll have to move a lot of events. We had a whole bunch of things planned for the end of June, the start of July, and it's a case of rescheduling everything until it's safe to be open again.

"[Young people have] been having to stay away from these kinds of places for 15 or 16 months now, so they were literally clamouring to come out and enjoy themselves again."

'It was always going to be a fluid date'image captionExtra testing is taking place in Leek after cases of the Delta variant were detected

Many festivals have been cancelled for two years running – with Leek Arts Festival among them.

But with increased testing being carried out in the Staffordshire town from Monday after an increase in numbers testing positive for the Delta variant, organisers have said they are unsurprised by the announcement.

Phil Edmeades, spokesperson for Leek Arts Festival, said he never saw "any chance of having, what's being described as 'freedom day' on June 21st, it was always going to be a fluid date".

"If the science says it's not yet safe to have that freedom day then delay it," he added.

"That will disappoint a lot of people, myself included, but on the other hand there's no point getting upset about it there's no point getting angry about it – it is what it is.

"I do feel very sorry for those with businesses who are going to be affected by this situation but there's very little anyone can do about it."

'We are fully booked for three months from 21 June'image copyrightWah Wah Labimage captionAmy Seton has also had to close her bar

Amy Seton, manager of whisky club Grain & Glass, in Birmingham city centre, said it was the lack of communication and the moving of the goalposts which had been frustrating.

"We take the [Covid] regulations very seriously," she said.

"But this [the delay] feels like one more thing on top of everything else."

She said she and her team, based in the Jewellery Quarter, had been sceptical about the 21 June to begin with, but then, as various restrictions were lifted, they threw themselves into organising a full opening for the 21st.

They are fully booked from that date throughout the summer.

"We do events and large bookings and particularly stag parties. We have had loads of bookings as everyone thought the restrictions would be lifted."

Ms Seton said she and her team would now contact everyone who had booked to see if they wanted to cancel or rebook.

"All the work we have put in so far, and now we have to sit down and work it out again," she said.

image copyrightLisa Baldwinimage captionLisa Baldwin said she had seen what Covid could do

Lisa Baldwin has been suffering from long Covid symptoms – and welcomes not easing coronavirus rules.

The mother-of-three, 46, from Birmingham, tested positive in October and said her liver had been affected. She added she had joint and muscle issues and her memory was "really poor".

The education worker said: "If I walk to the end of the street and back, it's a four/five minute walk, but on the way back I'll often stop four or five times."

Ms Baldwin said it was "the right decision" to delay.

She added: "I think a month is good because there was talk of two weeks. I think by saying at least a month, I think that sends a signal out to people.

"I've known people that have died through Covid and it's affected my life a lot. I haven't been able to go to work. I miss that lots. I think people just need to realise the implications that long Covid has."

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