A Maltese nightclub lobbyist has spoken out after a Sliema lido ended up hosting a busy party that seemingly flaunted social distancing regulations, with videos of it spreading like wildfire across social media last night.
“It’s pretty obvious that you cannot expect the people not to go crazy and say that even with security you can’t control it,” Philip Fenech, the deputy head of the Chambers of SMEs told Lovin Malta the day after.
“If you pump people full of very loud music like the old norm, it is obvious the social behaviour of people will be that way because that’s how you’ve engineered it,” he continued.
Surfside, a popular beachside lido, had to close by 9.20pm last night after revellers couldn’t hold back from dancing together after months of partial lockdown. Since then, leading club owners have raised the alarm over the potential of establishments acting as nightclubs to harm the clubbing industry.
“All businesses have had to adjust,” Fenech said. “The opposite of social distancing is social intimacy, and nightlife is based on social intimacy.”
Fenech went on to propose what he sees as viable options to get the clubbing industry back on its feet in Malta.
“The only way we will see these people entering in a restricted manner is by turning a step back and turning the club into a more lounge atmosphere,” he said.
“Drinks should be served around a table, with lower music volume so people can speak to each other,” he said. “Plus, you don’t want to create hype that might make people go beyond social distancing.”
“It is already being tested in other places – it doesn’t necessarily have to be background music, but not the type of loud music found at clubs. They should be turned into temporary lounges,” Fenech said.
He says these “restrictions” need to be put in place to be able to go back to opening clubs in Malta at a calm and more reasonable pace and ensure people don’t just let loose as soon as they have an opportunity
“It is useless blaming the client,” Fenech said. “Clients need to be prudent because it takes two to tango, but what do you expect if the music is blaring as though there are no restrictions whatsoever? Loud music adds to the hype.”
Fenech ended by talking about the reaction to the sudden and shocking announcement that Malta would be giving amnesty for some people who had received fines.
“I know that the Prime Minister had good intentions in what he said yesterday, in fact, he never said that there would be some blind amnesty,” he said.
“But I also understand that the way it was said could have been perceived by some, as seems to have been the case, that everything is over or almost over, and things can go back to some normality without the existing protocols – which was not what he meant.”