Following a weekend of video footage making rounds where revelers can be seen enjoying Paceville’s nightlife, the owner and manager of Gianpula clubbing village in Rabat, Matthew Degiorgio, stressed that if too much time passes until the industry can generate some activity, the local clubbing scene will meet its end.

He was asked for a reaction in view of the Gianpula clubbing village having been semi-closed since end-July, with very limited activities throughout the rest of the season.

“I think we all have to adapt. Unless the entertainment industry adapts and starts to host events, in line with the rules available, there will be no more local clubbing scene,” he cautioned.

“There is no alternative as this virus is not just going to disappear.”

Asked to comment on the appearance of COVID rules being flouted, Mr Degiorgio said that from footage, one can easily be given the wrong impression.

“Many of these clubs can hold a lot more people. We need to get going and follow the protocols. If we need to use tables, highchairs and seated services, then let us do it. For example, in the Gianpula main room, we can take 300 people sitting down – so let’s get going and have events that respect the rules in place.

“We can’t keep waiting for a vaccine, we have no idea of when it will actually get here or how this pandemic will play out.”

Mr Degiorgio said he visited Valletta over the weekend, an area known for its large number of bars and restaurants. He commented that many people were sat down at tables enjoying the nightlife.

“Were they doing anything wrong? I will not cry about other businesses generating activity. I would much rather see all businesses moving forward together, while respecting the current guidelines,” he said.

This coming March, Gianpula will reach the grim milestone of having been practically shut for a year. Restrictions were lifted end-June, while the clubbing village enjoyed five weeks of events until fresh restrictions were put in place.

Malta experienced a second wave of cases towards the end of July after a combination of un-restricted gatherings, such as village feasts and other events, as well as the opening of ports and borders to commercial travel with almost no restrictions.

Following the so-called second wave of cases, the authorities had implemented fresh restrictions for mass gatherings. While both indoor and outdoor venues must respect the one person per four meters rule, indoor venues are capped at 100 persons while outdoor venues are capped at 300.

Events larger than 100 people must undergo a risk assessment, while groups of attendees cannot be larger than 10, with distance kept between groups of attendees. A no dancefloor policy was re-established, with attendees required to remain in their designated seating area.

For Mr Degiorgio, trying to keep up with topping up of staff wages while being practically closed, has been difficult. He added that for clubs in Paceville, some of which pay hundreds in rent daily, the situation is dire.

“I think that event organisers, promoters, and people in the entertainment industry in general, should work towards restarting the industry with the parameters in place. Event organisers complaining that they will not host events until the situation is completely back to normal will have to wait a very long time, and who knows what will happen until then?”

Malta’s second wave has seen highs and lows, with the past three days seeing a rise in 50+ cases each day. Schools have slowly begun to reopen as efforts continue to be made for some semblance of normality to return.

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