No mouth shield and no 1.5 meters, but good ventilation and fewer people present: the nightclubs and discotheques should be able to open again. That’s not going to happen in the near future, was announced yesterday during the press conference of Prime Minister Rutte and Minister De Jonge. Nevertheless, consultations on a protocol between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Security and Justice, the Royal Hotel and Catering Industry Netherlands and the entrepreneurs of Nachtbelang started last Monday.
“If the Cabinet really wants this, if the Cabinet really thinks clubs are important, then this protocol can be worked out within two weeks and we can then be open,” says Jorn Lukaszczyk, initiator of interest group Nachtbelang and owner of club Basis in Utrecht. “It took six months before we had our first meeting. Now it can all go a little faster.” Lukaszczyk hopes nightclubs can reopen on October 1st. That wish seems unrealistic. Minister De Jonge said earlier that such events will only be possible again once a vaccine has been developed.
Nightclubs represent one hundred nightclubs, 4,500 companies and 75,000 employees. Several clubs have found an alternative interpretation in recent months. For example, ‘going out sitting down’ at tables or terraces. “Financially, this doesn’t yield anything. You only cover a small part of the loss”, says Lukaszczyk. In addition, young people do not want to go out sitting down at all, he continues. “Young people want to dance. You can’t play police all the time. That’s not good for your brand.”
That’s why several nightclubs have closed their doors in recent weeks. Several clubs in Amsterdam, for example, indicated that it was too difficult to enforce the corona measures in this way. The same kind of hospitality venues were also closed by the municipality.
But when the clubs reopen: what does going out look like according to protocol?
“The biggest change is the queue outside, where real distance has to be kept. That’s where everything will take place and the host will ask all the questions about health,” says Lukaszczyk. A temperature measurement can also take place there. In principle, not much changes, the club owner continues. “The infrastructure to monitor people at the door already exists. We have been checking identity documents at the door for years and whether someone is under the influence”
Checking proof of identity is now more important than ever because of the second change: if you are over 35, you won’t enter the clubs anymore.
Indoors only 70 percent of the capacity is allowed. “So it will be less crowded in clubs. People might like that.” There’s no obligation to abide by the 1.5-metre rule inside. “But because of the space, we give people the choice to keep a foot and a half distance.” If you don’t want to, you don’t have to wear a mouth guard.
Furthermore, the partygoers will feel the presence of the ventilation better, says Lukaszczyk. “The ventilation will be running at full speed. You normally only do that at busy times.” The air conditioning is good enough to open the clubs, he says. “Clubs have had strict requirements for years about the air conditioning in their building regulations. The building code has been written back in the days when smoking was still allowed inside. That’s why the air has to be able to come in from outside and be refreshed several times an hour. That has already happened, but will happen even better now.”
You are also obliged to buy a ticket, so that the entrepreneurs have your details if a source and contact survey of the GGD is needed. Because, says Lukaszczyk, as clubs we ask those present to stay away from the at-risk and vulnerable group for ten days after a visit.
Support is gone
According to Lukaszczyk, it is essential that the clubs open as soon as possible. “Not only because of the economic consequences, but also because the support for the corona measures among young people is completely gone.” Look at the illegal parties, the riots and the house parties, he says. “And now it’s still summer and most illegal parties are held in nature or in the forests far away. Wait until winter: then the illegal parties go inside and to sheds that haven’t been checked at all.”