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Coronavirus: Nightclub owners up in arms over restrictions

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Nightclub owners on Thursday said they have been unfairly targeted by the health ministry’s latest measures, announced amid a surge in cases that has put officials on edge.

Cases jumped above 3,000 on Wednesday following a dramatic rise from 900 to 2,241 earlier in the week, prompting an emergency meeting between Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas and the coronavirus advisory team.

They met on Wednesday afternoon, coming up with a series of measures aimed at stopping the the spread of the virus.

The measures going into effect immediately include a ban on dancing and standing in music and dance venues, with a 300 cap on guests, who will also be required to present a rapid test not older than 24 hours.

Speaking to Cybc, the chairman of the association Nicos Vasiliou said music and dance venues are once more unfairly targeted and indirectly forced to close two days before New Year’s Eve, one of their most profitable nights.

“I had been on the phone with the health ministry for several days, and they kept reassuring me that nightclubs were not considered hotspots,” he said.

He added that many owners were at a loss after Wednesday’s announcement, as it has resulted in a slew of reservations being cancelled for New Year’s events which will result in losses, and has forced many to consider not even opening at all.

“This is a very deceitful way of getting us to stay closed,” he said. “I say deceitful because we were not given any notice, and since this is not an official measure, the government won’t have to compensate us for damages”.

Asked whether people might still honour their reservations, Vasiliou said there’s not much hope for that if people are not allowed to dance.

“Why else would you go to a nightclub?” he asked, “To have a cup of tea?”

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