Friday night under lockdown: The streets may be silent but the fun isn’t over

The weekend has arrived and the country is in lockdown.

It’s midnight in London. The bright lights at Piccadilly Circus still shine, but there is not a single person in sight.

Just a few empty, red double-decker buses pass through.

Roads are silent. Streets usually filled with tourists, party goers and giggling couples on first dates, are now desolate.

There is no smell of delicious Asian food as you walk through China Town, no laughter as people gather for post-work drinks in Soho and no runners, frantically weaving their way through pedestrians and gridlocked traffic.

Boris Johnson has confirmed he has COVID-19
The prime minister confirms he has tested positive for COVID-19

So when city streets fall silent across the country and you can’t leave the house, what exactly do you get up to at the weekend? Well, the party inevitably has to come to your own front room.

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In recent days, people have found innovative ways to entertain themselves and connect with friends and family through modern technology.

Never have there been so many virtual tutorials: language lessons, cookery classes, bingo, workout classes. You name it. You can find it happening live and online.

Hannah Saunders puts on raves for children across the country. But given mass gatherings are now banned, she decided to stream a rave instead.

More than 5,000 families joined her live. The performance, which was filmed in her kitchen, featured her children, pets, plenty of glitter, bubbles and confetti. In fact, it was so successful that she is doing it all again this weekend.

How coronavirus lockdown is changing culture with people having to move their socialising online
Image: Time Out has become dominated by how to spend your Time In

She told Sky News: “It was absolutely glorious. It really did bring about that sense of community you get on a dance floor. It was just in gardens, kitchens, living rooms. It was brilliant.”

While raving might not be for everyone, there are plenty of quizzes to take part in online. Some are small, private gatherings, others are for charity and have attracted thousands of participants. They can be themed – to focus on your favourite television show, or you might even want to don a silly hat or fancy dress.

Dr Amy Cavanaugh, who is visually impaired, has started a virtual pub, where her friends can drink with her, albeit in an online setting. She hosts online film nights and language lessons too.

With the UK in lockdown many people are getting creative

Dr Cavanaugh told Sky News that virtual socialising is often second nature to those with disabilities.

She said: “Disabled people can’t get in the pub a lot of the time. Most pubs are inaccessible. They don’t have accessible toilets, so actually we are pretty good. We are veterans of socialising not in person.”

Across the country real pubs, bars and restaurants are closed and boarded up. This is having a massive impact on businesses, including Time Out magazine, which recommends fun places for people to go out. However, the publication has now changed its name to Time In, offering advice on the best virtual happenings instead.

The world is being forced to adapt to a new way of living. It might not afford us physical contact, but for now it seems most things worth doing this weekend are at the touch of a button.

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