TALLINN – Twenty-nine nightclubs sent a joint address to the Estonian government in which they seek, due both to the drastic decline in turnover in the industry and the spread of the omicron strain, the lifting of the ban on public events starting at 11 p.m. and replacing it with the obligation to present a COVID-19 vaccine certificate and a prior negative test result.
In their joint address, the nightclubs emphasize that their normal economic activities take place at night, usually between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. Due to the government order, the economic activities of the companies have been completely banned during this time, as a result of which the turnover of the signatory companies decreased by 97 percent in November and December 2021 compared to October.
"As a result, businesses are facing a situation where cost optimization is impossible and many businesses are facing closure, including bankruptcy," the companies said, stressing that the decrease in turnover is not related to the reluctance of customers to visit establishments or the shortage of tourists, but directly to the intervention of the regulator in a free market economy.
"The total time restriction on certain establishments is out of balance with other societal restrictions," the nightclubs said. They also drew attention to the fact that no other gatherings or events are prohibited, only events and gatherings in public places from 11 p.m. Gatherings and events in non-public spaces can continue after 11 p.m., generally without testing, COVID-19 passport verification and other important security measures.
According to the companies, due to the decrease in turnover, it is no longer possible to pay the unavoidable costs necessary to maintain the companies that arose during the operating ban, including labor, rental and utility costs. "In view of these circumstances, we believe that the only sector subject to a total ban should be supported in solidarity, as companies currently bear a disproportionate burden in combating the virus compared to others," the signatories said.
Therefore, in light of the spread of the new omicron strain, nightclubs are proposing to lift the time restriction as soon as possible and replace it with a requirement for a COVID-19 vaccine certificate and a prior negative test result. This solution would allow companies to operate without state aid in the future.
In addition, the companies recommended considering the Ministry of Culture's previous support mechanisms, which have been developed over the months in cooperation with stakeholders, taking into account the various nuances and substantive aspects of the sector.
The address was signed by CatHouse, Cheers, Club 9/11, Club Africa, Club Baila, Club Diva, Club Hollywood, Club Lounge, Club Maasikas, Club Munt, Club Prive, Club Studio, Club Sugar, Club Sunset, Club Tartu, Club Vabank, Club Venus, D3, Geneva Club, Globe, Hall, Helitehas, Klondaik, Level, Mjau, Privileeg, Red, Shooters and Vaarikas.