Chicago Launches Contest for Winter Outdoor Dining Solutions

Chicago winters have a reputation. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is asking Chicagoans to share their ideas for innovative winter outdoor dining solutions that adhere to COVID-19 protocols so we can support our favourite local restaurants while keeping Chicagoans healthy.

Solutions should address dine-in, not delivery or carryout, and can integrate ideas related to both the physical space and operations. Innovative types can submit suggestions online through the evening of Tuesday, September 7, when the project will shift into the evaluation phase. Top ideas should be announced September 29. The city is holding the competition in partnership with the Illinois Restaurant Association, BMO Harris Bank, and California-based design firm IDEO.

Read the full feature here.

Berlin’s senate seeks open-air spaces where local clubs can host socially distanced parties

District mayors have been asked to scour their areas for parks, streets and sports halls that could be transformed into legal outdoor rave venues.

Originally published in Resident Advisor:

“Berlin’s local government continues its hunt for potential open-air venues.

Likely in response to the influx in illegal open-air parties thrown this summer, Berlin’s local government is hunting for appropriate green spaces to host the city’s “culture-hungry guests” under slightly more hygienic conditions. The decision is also thought to be informed by increasing pressure from the city’s clubs, who, despite a recent €30 million aid package for cultural venues which the government has committed to doubling over the next two months, claim they are struggling to stay afloat without revenue.”

Yesterday on Thursday August 27th, the senate announced new nationwide restrictions after a recent spike in cases. The ban on large scale events is extended from the end of October through to the end of the year. Fines will be handed out to those not wearing masks in places where it is indicated to do so. Private parties are now limited to 25 people and 50 people for parties open to the public, though the latter restriction has merely been suggested by the federal government and still needs to be accepted by the individual German states. The Berlin senate is currently meeting in a special session to decide on updated city-wide restrictions.

Read the full RA news piece here

MEND NYC program launched, providing free mediation in disputes between venues and residents

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced MEND NYC, a program to provide free mediation between New York residents and hospitality businesses across the city who are in disputes over quality-of-life issues.

This innovative alternative to enforcement can bring lasting solutions to longstanding local issues that have been laid bare by the COVID-19 crisis, which has caused an increase in complaints. MEND NYC will create opportunities to resolve disputes before they escalate to the need for formal enforcement, such as issuing summonses, which can add financial hardship to small businesses operating under new rules and guidelines. The program aims to get nightlife businesses and New Yorkers to communicate directly and establish respectful ongoing dialogue, helping them to compromise and coexist.

“After two years of piloting a mediation program to help resolve quality of life issues between venues and residents, I’m grateful that our office is launching MEND NYC in partnership with OATH,” says Senior Executive Director of New York City’s Office of Nightlife, Ariel Palitz. “We can’t wait to offer this service and help New York City and its nightlife community find common ground and thrive together, again.”

Read more about the program here.

The UK’s NTIA has presented a science-backed reopening plan in a bid to save the sector

Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and operators from the UK’s night-time industry have presented the government with a science-backed reopening plan in an attempt to stop the sector from collapsing.

Festival Republic and Music Venue Trust are among the organisations that have commissioned the report, supported by the Institute of Occupational Medicine, which examines the science behind Covid-19 and how to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Key findings highlight that the core market for clubs and venues are amongst the lowest at risk in the hospitality sector and that that overall capacity restrictions to 75% of legal building occupancy based on regulations will ensure distancing is possible throughout the venue.

Now, the night-time industry is using the report to urge the government to provide a clear reopening plan for music venues, nightclubs, late-night bars and events spaces, as well as more financial support after the furlough scheme ends.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, says: “We have now reached a critical point. In the absence of a clear reopening strategy from government, or the promise of financial support, huge numbers of businesses within our industry are facing financial collapse and thousands of job losses.

Read the Report Here

Read the article in IQ here

UK nightclubs propose bouncer patrols and face masks to reopen

Originally published in The Guardian, Rob Davies examines how in the UK dancing in face masks, temperature checks at the door and bouncers patrolling the dance floor to enforce social distancing could be the future of clubbing during a pandemic, according to plans put forward by venues desperate to reopen.

Nightclub owners have warned they face imminent “financial armageddon”, putting more than 750,000 jobs at risk, unless the government provides them with support or greater certainty about when they can reopen.

Peter Marks, the chief executive of Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of late-night bars and clubs, said: “The late-night leisure sector, a sector which employs tens of thousands across the UK, is at risk of collapse if the government does not act now – it is that simple.

“Despite the government’s furlough scheme continuing until the end of October, we will see the loss of a third of jobs across the sector by the end of September, the majority of which are young adults.

“We need a clear reopening plan, or at the very least fit-for-purpose financial assistance.”

Read the full article in The Guardian here

Milan Study Finds Appetite for Smaller Open Air Events

A recent report commissioned by Milan-based think tank Music Innovation Hub and market research agency Ergo Research, which specialises in consumer insight into the cultural industries, explores the expectations, fears and changes in the public’s attitude towards live music and clubbing post-pandemic, and has found that smaller, open-air events with an intimate atmosphere are in-demand.

The report explores consumer attitudes towards live music after the pandemic and lobbies for deregulation of permit policies for small events

Gig-goers have a strong appetite for a more diverse range of event formats, especially small concerts, says the findings of a survey conducted in Milan.

Read the full article in IQ mag

Covid Kit: The tech helping fans stay safe at shows

As buildings, venues and public spaces start to tentatively reopen following months of lockdown, savvy businesses and operators are turning to technology to help them boost confidence, both among consumers and staff.

From simply supplying hand-sanitisation facilities at store entrances to sophisticated mobile phone apps, thermal testing and scanning devices, numerous products and systems are being developed to bolster personal protection measures, giving people confidence that they can safely return to the workplace and, ultimately, get back to enjoying live entertainment.

Read the full feature in IQ

New web app for secure and encrypted contact tracing, closecontact, launches in Berlin

Encrypted contact information would be logged by a club upon entry, then automatically deleted 30 days later.

A new web app called closecontact has launched in Berlin to enable secure contact-tracing in nightclubs.

COVID-19 has impacted individuals and communities all around the world and forced countless businesses to close their doors. In Berlin, some sectors are re-opening, but our clubs remain largely shut.

Berlin’s nightlife has historical significance and continues to be an essential part of the city’s culture. These spaces have long inspired people both here and abroad, and their failure to return would be a monumental loss culturally and economically

In response to COVID-19, the Berlin Senate has imposed contact-sharing regulations on our hospitality sector as a condition of re-opening.

closecontact is an independent service, built in Berlin by a local team to help facilitate the re-opening of Berlin’s clubs. It was developed by a group of engineers, lawyers and designers from the music tech industry, with additional input from a handful of Berlin venues. Between us we have worked at companies such as SoundCloud, Beatport, Ableton, LiveNation and Defected Records.

Read more about it on RA

Reporting From Berlin’s Open-Air Scene

After a wave of criticism of outdoor parties, Nathan Ma writing for Electronic Beats, gather’s perspectives from organisers, party goers and Berlin’s Club Commission.

Still, the lack of policy implemented, that allows for safe and legal events in public space remains a challenge, and one that the Global Nighttime Recovery Plan and Berlin’s Club Commission hopes to resolve fast.

“The open-air season is going to be finished in two months,” Erich tells me. “On the one side, it is and has been very important for new artists in the city to have a stage and share their music. This platform enables them to become important authors in the electronic music scene. On the other side, the open-airs are a good short-term solution for the given circumstances in the electronic music scene,” Erich tells me, continuing, “Our main goal as Club Commission is to represent the interests of the Clubs. Nowadays, this means surviving the crisis. With the Free Open Air Initiative, I hope that the cooperation with Berlin’s districts continues, so that more places can be used for legal open-airs.”

Read the full article here

Read the first chapter of our nighttime guide on Open Air: Managing outdoor space and sound