PRAGUE With the second wave of the pandemic and other restrictive measures, domestic dance clubs, bars and nightclubs are receiving another blow, which for many of them may lead to liquidation this time. “Unfortunately, we perceive it as a selective liquidation in a live broadcast,” Michael Pospíšil, a spokesman for the Prague club, told the Lidovky.cz server.
Already the spring forced closure has put companies in a difficult situation. Revenues fell to zero overnight, and due to the partial absence of foreign tourists, who usually already significantly contributed to the revenues of bars in Prague in particular, the loss gap could not be filled even during the summer.
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However, a new measure will come into force on Friday at 6 pm – restaurants, bars or clubs may not let more people in than the seating capacity. There should be a ceiling of ten people at the internal events where they stand. Exceptions are exhibitions and markets.
And on Thursday, another “nail in the coffin” of nightclubs followed – between midnight and six o’clock in the morning, businesses throughout the country must be closed from Saturday. Both regulations are intended to reflect the increase in those infected, especially among the younger generation. “Most coronavirus infections are between the ages of 20 and 29, unlike in the spring. They can be people who have become infected at club events and can be a source of the spread of the disease even among risk groups, “explained the Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch (YES).
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Shortly before midnight, the nightlife usually starts, and during these hours the sales of bars and clubs are about a third. “Although we open the club on the lower floor an hour earlier than usual, customers start walking before midnight, as they are used to. It is difficult to explain to them that, as a result of government measures, there is no other option than to leave again, “Pospíšil told the Lidovky.cz server.
However, companies have no choice but to respect government measures. “Under such conditions, of course, it is not possible to keep a club whose name took several years to live alive in the long run,” he adds.
However, it is not only companies in Prague that evaluate the effects of government measures as tragic. Even smaller bars outside the metropolis, whose revenues did not depend so much on tourists, are not doing well. Šárka Chovancová, executive of the Ostrava Klid Club, which has been operating near the famous Stodolní Street for eighteen years, spoke for Lidovky.cz. With each additional government action, there is a thinner number of guests. “It’s getting harder and harder for us, people walk less and less. The closing machine at midnight discourages even the last customers who are left – people at 11 barely come and we have to throw them away in an hour, “he says.
“The situation in our industry is really bad. While we try to save where we can, the costs remain. Due to that uncertainty, we can’t even borrow money, because we don’t know when and if the situation will improve at all and it will pay off, ”describes Chovancová.
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The government’s City Lounge music club also feared Thursday’s government decision that all restaurants and bars would have to be closed between midnight and six o’clock in the morning. “Due to new restrictions, we will be forced to close part of the company completely. We will only leave the upper bar open, “confirmed Štěpán Háček, the club’s executive, to the Lidovky.cz server.
Even though the family business is trying to keep it alive, it will not make up for this year’s losses. “If we cannot make full use of the company’s capacity, then it is clear that we are losing more and more sales,” says Háček.
Additional restrictions may come
The limited opening hours have so far only applied to companies in Prague, the Central Bohemian Region and the Uherské Hradiště district; from Saturday, the measure will be comprehensive. “We know that with increasing time, when a person is in the facility and consuming alcohol, the responsibility and compliance with the measures decreases,” said Roman Chlíbek, a member of the epidemiological group at the Ministry of Health.
The Prague club Techtle Mechtle, which became the most famous bar cluster in the Czech Republic so far, became infamous in this respect.
According to the Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch, other measures cannot be ruled out in an effort to stop the beginning of the exponential increase in positive cases of the disease. These can be veils at outdoor events, further restrictions on the capacity of indoor events or restrictions on social contacts by ensuring sufficient spacing, for example in restaurants.