Nightlife workers speak out about living and working through COVID-19

A bartender at Arnaldo Richards’ Picos wears gloves and a mask while taking orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, May 1, 2020 in Houston.

Over 7 million hospitality workers were laid off in April. On ABC news Clara McMichael shares the story of those who no longer have access to work.

“Nightlife, which consists of clubs, bars and late-night restaurants, is an industry where businesses are often poorly financed and workers are especially vulnerable. In April alone, according to the Department of Labor, 7.7 million people working in the leisure and hospitality sector lost their jobs. As the season moves into summer and states start to reopen, those who support and are supported by nightlife will be forced to confront fissures in the industry that existed long before the pandemic.”

To watch film and read full article here

New Feature- Moving with resilience: Queer Nightlife in the time of COVID-19, Part 2 🌒

The Color Kidz

For the second part of the three part series: Queer Nightlife in the time of COVID-19, Joaquin Gutierrez, Los Angeles-based Community Sexual Health Organizer and LGBTQIA+ Event Coordinator, looks at how Mexicos community is moving with resilience.

Joaquin believes Mexican queer/trans/non-binary nightlife culture is vibrant, resilient, hard-working and innovative, and that the stories of this community must be shared as a form of resistance to the oppressive factors that Mexican culture implicates on us as Queer beings.

“From Tijuana to Guadalajara, Jalisco, the future of the queer community in Mexico calls to question what steps for survival are necessary, leaving people in different socio-economic and social levels of the community scrambling to do what’s best for themselves.”

Read the full feature here

West Australia sets mandatory online COVID-19 hygiene training course for hospitality recovery

  • Mandatory COVID-19 hygiene training and assessment to prepare WA hospitality industry for future return to business
  • Early rollout of training program ensures WA businesses can reopen quickly when restrictions are lifted in the future
  • Venues will only be able to reopen when restrictions are lifted and every employee has successfully passed assessment
  • WA public can be confident venues will have strong COVID-19 protections in place
  • State Government program to be delivered by the Australian Hotels Association (WA)

To find out more head here

Surprisingly bipartisan effort out of Texas for US congress to include live event venues in future relief packages.

U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tom Carper (D-DE) led 40 of their Senate colleagues in sending a letter today to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) asking them to include funding for independent live music venues in any upcoming coronavirus relief legislation. 

They wrote: “Live event venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and they are likely to be among the last to reopen. Concerts and live events may not be possible until a vaccine is readily available to the public, which could be many months away, if not longer.”

“Without assistance targeted to their unique situation, venues, artists, and our local communities face an unprecedented crisis. We support providing government funding, tax relief measures, and assistance to manage mortgage, rent, and other debt burdens for mom and pop venues across the country.”

“We can provide a vital lifeline for these iconic venues that are so central to the social, cultural, and economic fabric of so many of our communities. This industry is not going to make it without our help.”

Read full letter here:

Preserving Our Unity: Queer Nightlife in COVID-19, Part One 🌑

Article by Mimi Tempestt & Will J on Features

Mimi Tempestt , scholar, creative artist, and queer community activist and Will J, community organizer, queer creative, innovator, and member of Los Angeles Nightlife Alliance (LANA), interviewed DJs, party promoters, artists, safe-space activists, patrons, venue owners/managers, and performers from around the globe, asking how their lives and communities were functioning and navigating through the pandemic.

The interview conversations ranged from very personal reflections, to a rising wave of community activism and struggles for representation—unified by the energy, desire and need to connect.

As artists, organizers, and queer nightlife activists, Mimi Tempestt and Will J. have seen firsthand the need for connection and community amongst the many different faces of their scenes.

Read the full feature on here

+++UPDATE: Paris installs support plan for the economic, voluntary and cultural sectors, including nightlife

Paris’s Recovery Plan includes Direct aid to artists and artistic teams (priority for the youngest and least visible)

The City will set up a global support plan of up to 200 million euros for Parisian economic, associative and cultural players.

This plan is deployed around three axes: protecting Parisians, adapting the City to new health requirements, supporting economic and association players.

  • Attention will be paid to those involved in nightlife, according to suitable time slots.
  • Rent exemption for 6 months for the most fragile actors (associations, cultural institutions, businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic)
  • When the physiognomy of the streets allows, the City will help merchants and artisans to use the outdoor spaces to facilitate compliance with standards of physical distance. Work is underway to provide a methodological and logistical kit for tactical town planning for businesses.
  • Restaurateurs and cafes may also be authorised to extend the surface of their terraces free of charge until next September . These provisional arrangements will be applied on a case-by-case basis depending on the configuration of the public space available, after consultation with the borough mayors.
  • Direct aid to artists and artistic teams (priority for the youngest and least visible) to encourage creation and dissemination (music, live performance, visual arts in particular): organisation of an August Culture Month in Paris in partnership with other institutions, call for projects for artistic commissions to authors; maintenance of Nuit Blanche in a revisited edition, which will offer another way of living and looking at art.
  • Support for private or poorly subsidised cultural players: contribution of €500,000 from the relief fund set up in the music sector, managed by the National Music Center; contribution of € 700,000 from the emergency fund for the performing arts , managed by the Association for the support of private theaters; contribution of € 50,000 from the SACD support fund for dramatic authors and composers.
  • Increased support for GIP Café Culture to: support the remuneration of musicians performing in café-concerts; allow more concerts to be organised in the months following the end of the crisis.
  • Support in means of communication for the resumption of activity and the development of artistic and cultural education projects aimed at young people and the elderly in particular.
  • Support systems for independent bookstores 
  • Additional support for independent cinemas
  • The design of signage for compliance with physical distance standards in the Parisian public space has already been initiated. This signage affixed to the ground or on panels will allow the various flows to be organized (pedestrians, bikes, cars, etc.) while respecting physical distance.
  • The use of bicycles, with in particular the creation of 50 km of new cycle lanes on strategic axes and the free parking of relay parking on the outskirts for Navigo pass holders, including traders, is also strongly encouraged.

Read more about Paris’s Recovery Plan here.

+++OPINION: Philadelphia should become a 24-hour-city to survive the pandemic

People at a bus stop in front of City Hall in the morning, in Philadelphia, March 20, 2020.

Extended hours means fewer service cuts, tax hikes, and layoffs, plus decongested transit and streets.

Michael Fichman suggests that we use 24-hr thinking to increase the space available for distancing. In describing a concept of this economy and why extended hours should stay in place after COVID.

To read the full article head to the Philadelphia Inquirer

+++UPDATE: UK Campaign to make public spaces available to hospitality

Writing for Big Hospitality, Joe Lutrario reports on how a campaign has been launched to safely re-start the UK hospitality industry by transforming public spaces and streets into al fresco dining spaces whilst adhering to physical distancing.

The idea is similar to the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius that has made headlines for temporarily giving roadside space to restaurants and bars to help them comply with social distancing rules.

Read the full article in Big Hospitality

Or head to The Grand Outdoor Summer Cafe Proposal Document to read the full proposal and register interest.

+++Update: Last Saturday South Korea’s clubs and bars were ordered to close by Government

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea on Friday advised nightclubs and hostess bars to close for a month and may delay the reopening of schools after linking more than a dozen new coronavirus infections to a club patron in the capital.

At least 15 new infections were linked to a 29-year-old man who visited three clubs in Seoul’s Itaewon district on Saturday before testing positive on Wednesday.

Jeong said the man did not wear a mask inside the clubs and that the number of infections will likely rise as health workers trace and test contacts. The clubs’ visitor lists show they received more than 1,500 customers combined on Saturday.

The central government’s advisory doesn’t require clubs to close, but if they become a source of infections after failing to enforce anti-virus measures they could be shut down.

Read full article in the Washington Times here