People who attend and organise illegal parties and gatherings are ultimately shooting themselves in the foot by delaying the return of legal standing events, Philip Fenech, the deputy president of the Chamber of SMEs has warned.
“The more impatient people are getting, the more illegal events are happening, which is only aggravating the problem because it will mean that COVID-19 cases will rise and the lifting of restrictions on standing events will be further delayed,” Fenech told Lovin Malta.
“Now more than ever, we must believe in the regulations and self-enforce our own behaviour. The more we keep breaking the rules, the longer our favourite establishments will remain closed.”
Fenech spoke out after Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that plans for standing events to return after 15th August have been delayed indefinitely, a decision that has angered the entertainment industry.
He said that he understands the frustrations of nightclub owners, event organisers, and others in the industry whose business models rely on standing events.
“Nightclubs are at the end of their tether and have been stretched beyond their limits, while some parts of the leisure industry are operating at a loss and have only decided to reopen to maintain their position in the market.”
However, he said nightclubs should be given more leeway, such as by allowing guests to stand up and dance around the table if they remain in their same bubble.
“Who is going to compensate them for being the hardest hit?” Fenech asked.
Besides the economic pain, establishments have also had to deal with unruly clients, particularly tourists, who kick up a fuss when restrictions are enforced.
“DJs have been turning the music off when they see people standing up and dancing, and there were incidences at Paceville clubs and elsewhere where guests reacted by throwing their plastic cups at the DJ and causing a commotion,” he said. “We mainly see this behaviour from tourists; their attitude is that they have come to Malta on holiday and some wouldn’t even be aware of the regulations.”
However, Fenech said he’s optimistic that there is light at the end of the tunnel, noting Fearne’s announcement that the maximum capacity of seated events will increase from 200 to 300 on 16th August, and to 500 from 30th August.
“Chris Fearne isn’t saying that standing events will never return but the longer we break the rules, the longer it will take for this to happen,” he said.
“It is up to the individual, consumers and suppliers alike, to regulate oneself and stay within the authorities’ recommended parameters. Breaking these parameters is aiding and abetting to their own future inconvenience as they are themselves facilitating the spread of the virus.”
He added that Malta’s COVID-19 hospitalisation numbers clearly show that the vaccine is having its desired effect.
“The more people get vaccinated, the more the numbers will go down and the more we will be able to liberalise and start having standing-up events again with some precautions.”
Do you think Malta should allow standing events to return this month?