Thousands of nightlife venues around the world were forced to shut down due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak to respect the safety and well-being of staff and clients and also to avoid the spread of the virus.
Despite many nightlife venues being shut down, countries like Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, and Switzerland have opened nightlife activities again, though with many restrictions such as early curfew, capacity restrictions, and operating as restaurants or bars. On the contrary, nightlife in countries such as Italy, Cyprus, Spain (allowed to open for a short period of time without dance floor), the UK, and Belgium have no chance to operate at the moment.
The nightlife industry’s turnover worldwide is around $3,000 billion, employs more than 150 million workers, and moves more than 15.3 billion clients a year worldwide. Not to mention that it is a first-class tourist attraction for many countries in the world. Despite this, it is a global industry that is not taken into account and should be more respected and should receive more aid than it does, since for the moment it’s not receiving much.
Irreparable economic damage
These unfortunate events will have a highly negative repercussion on nightlife venue owners and workers as well as the global economy and tourism. Consequently, and due to the restrictions in countries around the world, the International Nightlife Association, member of the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has estimated the highest economic nightlife industry loss of $1,500 billion to this day, this number will increase since many countries have no intention of opening nightlife venues anytime soon and many have not aided the industry in any way. All this damage is being weighed on the shoulders of the industry while the illegal nightlife offer has spiked drastically.
J.C. Diaz, President of the American Nightlife Association and Vice President of the International Nightlife Association stated, “Only in the United States of America we have estimated a $225 billion loss to date and an additional $500 billion loss in the next few months. Currently, only venues with restaurant and bar licenses are allowed to operate and that is with a 50% capacity.”
On the other hand, Joaquim Boadas, Secretary-General of Spain Nightlife and the International Nightlife Association added, “Spain’s nightlife has been closed down once again with no aid and restaurant and bar curfew at 1 a.m. this has created a great spike in illegal parties which has made us take a step forward and create a mailbox where anyone can anonymously send information about the illegal activities going on at any time this way we could send to the local governments in order to halt these illegal celebrations. The Spanish government has unfairly shut down venues blaming nightlife as the main spark of coronavirus but since nightlife venues have closed the cases have not stopped multiplying. All this with no aid at all, considering that nightlife in Spain employs over 300,000 workers. If we do not receive any aid now, 80% of venues are bound to disappear.”
On the same terms, Riccardo Tarantoli, Responsible for External Relations in the Italian Nightlife Association (SILB-FIPE) declared, “The pandemic has caused irreparable economic damage to date in our industry, nightlife has recently been shut down again and has just been extended today until the end of the month. While we are waiting for a new order on September 30, if nothing is done we estimate that 75% of venues will disappear in the near future.”
For his part, Aman Anand, President of the Indian Nightlife Convention and Awards and Member of the Board of Directors of the International Nightlife Association expressed, “Unfortunately currently being the third most affected country and with India opening up slowly, the economic damage cannot be assessed at the moment, though we can say that 40-50% of bars and restaurants in all Indian states will have to shut down in the next months. To this, we have to add on the fact that since August 25th bars and restaurants aren’t allowed to serve liquor.”
On a different note, Camilo Ospina, President of Asobares Colombia and Vice President of the International Nightlife Association for LATAM has said, “Nightlife has been completely shut down for the last 6 months causing a $1.5 billion loss though we have a very good relationship with government officials and they are willing to collaborate and negotiate to find the best solutions to open nightlife spaces again.”
SOS Nightlife Campaign Launch
Due to the drastic situation, the International Nightlife Association has decided to launch a global petition for governments worldwide to take the nightlife industry more into account in economic and social aspects, since governments are the ones who have forced nightlife venues to close, most of them have been closed for over 6 months. This will cause many nightlife venues to not have any other choice but to shut down. Apart from this as we have mentioned already, the scarcity of regulated nightlife offer is causing a rise in illegal parties and raves, since clubbers will have nowhere else to go, which we consider can be much worse for the spread of the coronavirus than a nightclub that has applied strict measures.
The dire situation among the nightlife community around the world has created the need of coming together as an international community in order to get the attention of governments and administrations in order to aid the industry. It’s important to keep in mind that the nightlife industry has many direct and indirect players and is a job-creating industry from employees and artists to suppliers and freelancers. The industries shutdown directly affects business owners, waiters, cocktail waiters, runners, cooks, artists, dancers, DJs, security staff, cleaning staff, suppliers, creative freelancers, just to name some. These people should be taken into consideration like in any other industry that is being aided during the COVID-19 crisis, said families also need to be fed. The idea of the creation of this campaign comes from the idea of #wehavefamiliestoo, since it seems that families affected by nightlife venue’s closure do not have any rights.