AN AYRSHIRE DJ says he doubts whether nightclubs in the area will ever fully recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

Nightclubs were closed over the festive period by the Scottish Government, but opened up from January 24 - to the delight of many who work in the industry.

Clubs across Ayrshire are now gearing up for their first full weekend back in business since limits were imposed to try and curb the spread of the Omicron variant.  

Mark Jewell said he had been affected heavily over the last two years by the pandemic - and had been hoping to capitalise on the festive rush in 2021.

That optimism soon faded for Mark, who said: "I first noticed it at the start of December when the first minister ‘advised’ against gatherings and Christmas nights out, causing thousands of cancelled bookings." 

"The festive period was especially difficult this year, with many business and self-employed workers in the sector having been excited for a busy spell since the previous year had been a write-off. 

"It was a hammer blow to hear the restrictions were coming into place." 

This time was different, though: because the restrictions set out by the First Minister were for a short term it left those involved with that branch of hospitality with no recourse for financial help

"Because it was just advisory, and not at that time an actual restriction, businesses were entitled to no financial help," Mark continued.

"[That was] a real kick in the teeth to the sector, which along with the travel industry, has been the worst affected sector during the whole entirety of the pandemic."

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For people like Mark, who earn a living in the entertainment industry, the reopening is a massive lift - but he says he's unsure whether people will ever fully get back into the mindset of going out rather than staying at home.

"It’s hugely important that everything is opening back up now, as the industry was on its knees.

"[But] the whole culture has changed with many people used to the restrictions and choosing to drink and party at home.

"There have been two years of people turning 18 who still haven't been to their first nightclub. 

"Why should they pay all the extra money for entry and drinks when they can continue to party and socialise the way they have been the past two years?"

"It's what their generation now sees as normal."