Amsterdam (Dagbladet): The situation has never been worse in the Netherlands. This week, several thousand Norwegians were scheduled to make the trip to the wooden school country to cheer on the national soccer team for what was to become the qualifiers for another despicable tournament.
Instead, it is a country that is almost standing idly by now, deeply exposed to the violent devastation of the coronavirus right now.
– Absolute worst time
“It’s usually packed here and now there’s no one here,” says Gints Savics (32), general manager of Club Prime, an Amsterdam nightclub.
He’s worked at Club Prime for over seven years and says the bar street on the popular Rembrandtplein is almost unrecognizable.
Club Prime Nightclub is located in the center of the famous Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam.
One day, the club turned from a crowded place to a completely empty place.
The general manager says the industry is in shock after the new shutdowns now threaten the nightlife.
– That was the worst time this place has seen, now with Corona. Because we’re almost not allowed to open anymore, says Savix.
Last week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte came across the disappointing news. Three-week insurance.
All restaurants must now close no later than 8pm.
Here, the incidence of corona has reached its absolute peak now, as is the case in many European countries. Germany, Austria, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Denmark and the Netherlands are among the European countries that are now going through the worst wave. On the continent, infection rates have not been higher since November last year, when no one had yet received a vaccine.
The country’s infection numbers hit new records with more than 23,000 cases on Thursday, but despite the country constantly breaking new records, the country is witnessing large demonstrations against new infection control measures. In Rotterdam broke out violent demonstrations New riots were announced on Friday and Saturday nights.
However, the death toll is still far from the peak in November last year, when vaccination rose.
Unvaccinated persons are allowed to work
Savix believes that much of the blame for the rising infection in the Netherlands is being shifted to the bar industry, something he doesn’t know himself about.
For those of us working here, we’re trying very hard to fight infection. We control everyone who comes through the doors.
– I don’t really understand why we have to close early, he says.
Recently, the Dutch authorities introduced a requirement that everyone who wants to go to a bar, restaurant and cafe must go to a bar Show QR Code before entering. This shows whether you have been fully vaccinated, have had covid-19 or have recently tested negative for corona, which is the equivalent of a corona certificate in Norway.
In order to get here at all, you have to be under strict control.
To a much greater extent Europe than Norway uses a QR code that shows if you are protected from entering the doors of bars, cafes and restaurants. And now it has also come to Holland.
Without this you will not be allowed into the bar.
The general manager says there is no requirement for companies they like Careers In nightclubs he has to be vaccinated which he thinks is very strange.
I’ve had a vaccine, and I’ll also have a third if it helps me work out in the future, which is something I really want, says Savix.
It must be closed early
In recent years, where several periods have been partially or completely closed, he describes it as really bad.
– Suddenly we were told there was a complete closure and no one was allowed out. It was a shock, says the general manager.
– We survived, but it was difficult.
Nightclubs in Amsterdam used to stay open until late at night on weekends, but in the time before the new closure they could only stay open until midnight.
– Savex says that mostly at night you can make money, because people don’t want to go out in the middle of the day.
The general manager says the entire nightlife industry is in shock and doesn’t understand why this is happening again.
– But yes, we accept it. once again.
At the entrance to Club Prime, pass a warning with red neon letters on the screen:
Stay safe and keep a distance.
Everyone Dagbladet spoke to believes the new lockdown will last more than three weeks.
Zero percent contracts
Savix believes that this temporary closure will last much longer than the three weeks that the authorities ordered “lockdown.”
– I think it will only take three weeks. Then they would say two more weeks, then another three weeks and then continue until Christmas. They may try to open in time for the holidays, but they will shut everything down again, says the 32-year-old.
The Managing Director anticipates that this will be critical to many in the industry.
According to Savix, it is common in the Netherlands for many in the bar industry to work on “zero percent” contracts, meaning they are not entitled to work a set number of hours per month. If there is no work, they don’t get paid either.
– I am fortunate to have worked here for a long time and have a perpetual hourly contract. He says I am not complaining.
To be able to manage such a period, he believes that many should have more jobs.
– I unfortunately think that many of them will be fired, or will not get another job as is the case now. Sad thing.
Significant fines risk
Savics has many friends who work in the nightlife and says there is a lot of frustration in the industry with the new restrictions.
– Nobody is happy with this. It’s simply too much, and I notice everyone is a little more negative this time around.
Saturday last week was the first day the bar had to actually close its doors at 20pm.
– People will not go. Everyone was standing in the streets and no one knew where to go, says the general manager.
He says that large crowds gathered outside the bar, drinking and enjoying themselves until late at night in the popular square.
The experienced waiter says the police are very strict in meeting the deadline. If there are any guests inside the doors when the clock strikes eight, Savics believes there is a high risk of having to pay hefty fines.
– When I was cleaning on a Sunday, I saw the police advancing at 19.50. You almost feel like a probing criminal, but that’s okay. Savix says the rules are the rules.
– hard blow
The large room can accommodate 850 people on two floors. On Sunday, only six people stopped, and as of 4 a.m. on Monday when Dagbladet met Savix, there were only two people passing by the bar.
Now he fears what the future will be like in terms of lost revenue when the bar has to close too soon.
What we earned all day on Sunday is what we usually use to earn in ten minutes, says the general manager.
In addition to all restaurants, bars and restaurants that must close at 8pm, stores selling non-essential items must close at 6pm. In private homes you are not allowed to be visited by more than four guests and residents are advised to work from home as much as possible.
– It will be a severe blow for a few weeks because the virus is spreading everywhere, in all parts of the country, in all sectors and at all ages, Prime Minister Rutte said during Friday’s press conference last week.
Unexpected new “insurance”
A stone’s throw from the Rembrantplein is another popular square. Travle Leidseplein has several bars and restaurants in a row.
– This is one of our busiest areas here in Amsterdam. If you want to get out into town, you can come here, says Damien, one of the owners of Bar Twenty2.
Together with other owner Dennis, he took over the management of the cocktail bar two or three weeks ago.
Neither of the two wants to appear with their full name, but when Dagbladet comes to visit, they still have a lot to tell about their past period.
– Honestly, I was not expecting a new “closure”. not at all. People are getting vaccinations now, so the situation should somehow get better instead of getting worse as it is now, Damien says.
According to the owner, grabbing a bar in the middle of an epidemic is too risky, but he hopes it will get better soon.
– It’s really weird, but at least we’re still open, and that’s a good thing. We also didn’t have to close as long as you had to in Norway for nearly seven months.
The race started suddenly
– We still succeed, but we have to try and keep the gang that works here. Once we hire them, Dennis says, we’ll pay them because they’re our employees.
Hope they don’t have to fire anyone.
How long can you afford to pay people who don’t work?
– Immediately? Not for long, but it’s hard to say. There are other ways to survive, but since we are a newcomer we should explore other ways to make money and if there are other opportunities here, says the owner.
Lukas Liska is one of those behind the bar. Despite three periods of lockdown, he has managed to weather the pandemic and is still working as a bartender at the colorful bar.
The epidemic has been very difficult. A little stability and things change from day to day. One day you have a job and the next day everything is closed. Especially for those on a “zero percent” contract, says the waiter, that’s when the race ends abruptly.
Liska had to take a temporary job as a warehouse worker for a while to earn an income. A job he longed to get away from.
Are you afraid of losing your job again?
– No, at worst I end up in the warehouse, but I don’t really want to. You never know things change so quickly.
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