McDonald's has stepped in to help Heaven (home to G-A-Y, one of London's most storied queer nightclubs) to remain reopened under new "high alert" hospitality protocols amid rising COVID-19 infection numbers, according to iNews.
With London moving into tier two of lockdown restrictions beginning Wednesday, clubs that don't serve food won't qualify to remain open. That's where a McDonald's franchise just down the street from G-A-Y offered to help the club remain open by offering meals to be purchased with drinks. G-A-Y owner Jeremy Joseph announced the partnership with McDonald's via Twitter. The club will also offer performances from West End luminaries Lucie Jones and Shanay Holmes.
Since nightclubs were shuttered in March, Heaven pivoted and installed seating on its dance floor. Now, under the restrictions, the club is operating more like a gay bar. "While we can't be a nightclub, we can become the biggest LGBT bar in the U.K.," Joseph has said.
The partnership with the nearby McDonald's comes at a time when London's queer venues are particularly impacted during restrictions.
"The pandemic has had a significant impact on our LGBTQ+ venues, which we know play a vital role in supporting the community, acting as a safe haven where they can feel comfortable and free to be who they are," London Mayor Sadiq Khan said while announcing emergency funding for 11 queer venues.
"That's why we've been working hard to protect these spaces and why city hall is providing investment and support at a critical time for our venues to help secure a future for our vibrant LGBTQ+ scene across the capital," Khan said.
In October, Joseph legally challenged (although it failed) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's handling of the hospitality industry during limited lockdowns that included a 10 p.m. curfew for hospitality businesses.
The curfew "makes absolutely no sense" and "does the opposite of protecting people by pushing them on to the street at the same time," Joseph said, according to iNews.