Georgian nightclubs promise to reopen, protest against government's ban
Georgian nightclubs promise to protest against government’s ban on reopening
Georgian Labor Inspectorate decided against the reopening of nightclubs. According to Naja Orashvili, one of the founders of the Bassiani club, nightclub owners had been negotiating the reopening with state authorities for 6 months, but none of the agencies took into account the action plan they developed.
Keta Gabunia, the founder of the Mtkvari club, published a letter from the Deputy Head of the Labor Inspection, Maia Mikaia, on social media. It is clear from the letter that after negotiations between the state and nightclubs’ owners, the reopening should have happened on December 17.
According to Naja Orashvili, the result of the negotiations is – blackmail, intimidation and destruction of nightclubs. According to her, the clubs were one of the first to act responsibly and announce the closure after the pandemic started, and 22 months have passed since then.
“Even if I end up in prison, I will not close this space. Because the state is either caring or has other plans and goals. We worked for 6 months on a safety plan based on solution, knowledge and experience to ensure that the risk of spreading the virus indoors was minimized. They refused to do that. The aim is therefore to physically destroy these free and safe spaces, to intimidate us.
Personally, I have a 400-page manual, we have done two studies. We understand very well the severity of the epidemiological situation, its tragic consequences, but we were the first to close down because of it. We waited for 22 months, we were looking for a solution and we found that solution. These agencies need to agree with our experience. We talked for 6 months, and the result is – blackmail, intimidation, and destruction”, Naja Orashvili told Formula TV.
The owners of the clubs say that they will not tolerate this “injustice” and will hold large-scale rallies.
Holding events in nightclubs in Georgia is not allowed until now. For several months, the club industry has been negotiating with the government over the reopening.
On December 3, it was reported that the nightclubs would resume operations on December 17. The Labor Inspectorate then said it was working with other agencies to come up with a safety protocol amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, the Coordinating Council prohibited the reopening of nightclubs on December 22nd.
According to the unions, the club sector employs about 8,000 people who have been left without income for 21 months.