Prominent musicians, promoters, venue owners and others within the clubbing and entertainment industry are calling for a semblance of an exit plan as the island prepares to reopen most sectors… but not venues.
Today, the island announced that it was able to minimise the spread of COVID-19 to the point that only 100 active cases currently remain on the island.
The success has led many to believe that Malta is closer to returning to normality; however, though bars, restaurants and stores have been given a timeline to reopen, entertainment venues like clubs have been left in the dark.
This has led to a major loss of income for thousands of people, including a toll on their mental health and a general sense of anxiety throughout the industry – and now, many prominent voices are taking to social media to raise the alarm after a year of cancelled events.
One leading DJ and producer, Ziggy, praised today’s COVID-19 numbers , saying herd immunity had nearly been reached – however, he made a public appeal for the industry to be saved, referring to test events occurring in places like Liverpool, which showed promising results.
“Our business is shut with no indications of when we can resume,” Ziggy said. “We have seen that in other countries protocols were followed and events were a success. We too can do it, we too deserve to get our business back on its feet as all the rest.”
Another prominent DJ and producer, Joven Grech, said “ignoring us is not an option anymore”.
Grech called out authorities for allowing gathering in places like churches or markets to go ahead, while “ignoring the 13,000 people that work in the entertainment industry”.
“They don’t even have the decency to at least commit to an exit plan! Best in the World my arse… gimmicks galore,” he said strongly.
Grech said that as long as a clear plan wasn’t being given, the island could expect to see more illegal events happening out of sight.
“You are giving them no other options. Now let’s queue up for the cannoli on Sunday, pile up at the Monti but fine young people on a beach whose life is being stolen,” he said.
Similarly, Matthew De Giorgio, the owner of Gianpula, one of the island’s leading clubbing villages, urged authorities to give some sort of indication as to when venues could at least open with limited capacity.
He had also previously brought up the idea of “green cards” for vaccinated people to use to enter venues while minimising risk, noting that other countries were finding ways to test and experiment in a bid to get their industry back on its feet.
Watch De Giorgio speak about the industry and how it could reopen safely in his recent interview on Lovin Daily.
Even ONE Chairman Jason Micallef shared his thoughts about the lack of plan regards reopening venues.
When questioned by Lovin Malta, Prime Minister Robert Abela said the government was taking a “prudent and cautious” approach to clubbing.
“We are still discussing this, but I believe that the strategy should remain one of gradual reopening, where we don’t rush ahead,” he said. “If we rush, there’s a risk that we prejudice everything we’ve won so far, and if we do that, it’s a step backwards, not forward.”
“In general, I believe it’s better to take small steps forward that we are confident in, rather than running ahead and slipping and having problems,” Abela continued.
He said that while he empathised with venue owners, he was following a set of clear principles that he believed are the safest to move forward with.
“I understand all those closed for these last months and what they are going through, and that’s why we were present to offer all support as it was needed, but I believe it’s the strategy that makes the most sense, opening gradually, according to the principle of the least risky events for transmission rate, but we need to arrive at the opening of those events, otherwise we can’t say we have returned to normality, but I believe this approach is prudent and cautious.”
Do you think Malta’s clubbing scene will open this summer?