Economy & Politics

Discos on the edge of the abyss

Forced to a halt for eight months, nightlife is very strongly affected by the health crisis. Managers of nightclubs have to cope with losses of 100% of income and costs that accumulate. But without state aid, it is difficult to survive.

Forced to a halt for eight months, nightlife is very strongly affected by the health crisis. Managers of nightclubs have to deal with 100% loss of income and costs that accumulate. But without state aid, it is difficult to survive.

(ASdN with Marlène Brey) – The DJs cut the sound and the revelers deserted the dance floor. Since March 16, the date of the start of confinement, nightlife has stopped. But for nightclub operators, this end is only the beginning of the problems. Because for eight months, the loss has been 100% in nightclubs.

And if the coffers remain desperately empty, the fixed costs, them, accumulate. Rent, water and electricity bills and other charges continue to accrue. For the Gotham nightclub, a stone’s throw from the Glacis in Luxembourg, the rent alone costs some 30,000 euros per month to its owner.


Wann hierzulande wieder in einer Disco gefeiert werden kann, das ist derzeit noch unklar.

Closed for four months now, nightclubs and discos still do not see the end of the tunnel. While some owners are trying to react, going from the night world to an open day activity is not easy.


For the Apoteca, in the heart of the capital and in deficit for six years, the health crisis is a bit of a knockout. “The State has closed our businesses, but there is no help,” sighs its manager Marc Grandjean, shrugging his shoulders. “We also need substantial help,” recalls Jean-Claude Colbach, who heads the IKKI at the Rives de Clausen, before specifying: “if the crisis was our fault, it would be another matter. But this is not the case”.

If the government supports the most affected sectors, nightclubs are indeed excluded from the recovery and solidarity fund. To prevent businesses from relying on public funds, the program provides that businesses operate “during the month for which the aid is requested”. But if this is possible for bars and restaurants, it is much less possible for nightclubs that usually welcome their customers than when the curfew begins.

Stick together

However, some have tried to adapt. Melusina, one of the oldest nightclubs in the country, initially seemed to be a model of success. The club was completely rebuilt, a music video was shot, the place was full. Then came the curfew and the club was once again plunged into darkness.

For his part, Marc Grandjean also tried to transform his club into a bar before being overtaken by reality. Hiring a DJ, cleaning company, and service staff isn’t worth it for a few customers. “It costs more than what we collect,” he says before adding: “Even before the crisis, it was difficult to attract customers to the Apoteca before noon – we are a club, after all. “. For the manager, making a new name for himself as a bar during the crisis seems hopeless.


Taxi

The profession of taxi driver puts the warnings. The one hour advance (from midnight to 11 p.m.) of the end of nightlife has taken a toll on transport activity. The business experiences its first bankruptcies and denounces a partial unemployment scheme that is disadvantageous for drivers.


Faced with the difficulties of companies in the nightlife, the sector has tried to stick together. Last May, the Luxembourg Event Association (LEA) was thus founded, bringing together event agencies, caterers and nightclubs. The association thus represents 60 of the 120 or so companies in the country, including a dozen clubs.

Together, the members of the LEA hope to sway the ministry. On their behalf, the president of the association Charles Schroeder negotiated an exception to allow clubs to remain completely closed while continuing to benefit from the Recovery and Solidarity Fund. And in case of failure, the sector intends not to stop there. “If nothing happens, we will have to file a lawsuit”, announces the manager of the IKKI Jean-Claude Colbach.


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