'I saw it coming': Bavaria closes clubs for at least three weeks as Covid-19 cases soar in Germany

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  • David Muallem, cofounder at Munich club BLITZ, spoke to RA about the latest blow to nightlife in the region.
  • 'I saw it coming': Bavaria closes clubs for at least three weeks as Covid-19 cases soar in Germany image
  • Parts of Germany face fresh restrictions and club closures as new cases of Covid-19 hit a record high on Thursday, November 18th. As Sky News reports, chancellor Angel Merkel called the current fourth wave of infections "dramatic," and has urged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The vaccination rate in Germany is lower than the average in Western Europe, with some regions standing at just 57.6 percent fully vaccinated. Yesterday, November 19th, Bavaria, Germany's largest state, announced that bars and clubs will be required to close for three weeks from Monday, November 22nd. "I saw it coming," David Muallem, cofounder at Munich club BLITZ, told Resident Advisor. "If I'm really honest, I think we won't open before maybe end of January, February. But I don't know. I can't predict the future." He added: "After two years of pandemic, I'm so out of power. I just feel so weak, to be honest. Because if I think about the past five or six weeks since we reopened, it was really a nightmare. It's hard for people to understand because everyone goes like, 'yeah, you can open your club again after such a long time.' And of course, I'm happy to see smiling faces on the dance floor again and have amazing parties, but we lost about 50 percent of our staff." As BLITZ prepares to close again, Muallem is now facing another round of cancellations and re-bookings, plus having to apply for government support. He just had to cancel Jeff Mills, who was due to play in three weeks. "It's like writing credit notes, checking all the replacement dates," Muallem said. "It's so much effort. Then administrating the government funds again. So it's just a very frustrating task. You know, I don't want to beg for help, I want to throw parties." In neighbouring Saxony, state premier Michael Kretschmer tweeted yesterday that "To break [the fourth wave], we need a fundamental contact reduction of 60 percent. For this, 2G+ is not enough. The Saxon Cabinet will decide on a wavebreaker today, which will come into force in Saxony on Monday." By contrast in Berlin, the Clubcommission issued a statement earlier this week claiming that clubs have been falsely framed for being responsible for new Covid-19 cases. A press release sent out by the Luca app (Germany's contract tracing system) claimed that 49 percent of the Covid-19 alerts in October could be traced back to nightclubs. On receiving the press release, media outlets shared the statistic, pointing the finger at bars and clubs. "Club visitors find out retrospectively whether a person present on the evening of their visit has tested positive for Covid-19," said Lutz Leichsenring, spokesperson for Berlin Clubcommission. "In almost all other areas of public and private life, this certainty does not exist. Even though we as operators look forward to the coming months with concern, we can claim that we take the hygiene rules and contact tracing very seriously." Clubcommission has also expressed its disappointment at the scapegoating of clubs, when they have had to work the hardest to meet new safety regulations. Read the full statement.
    Elsewhere in Europe, nearby Austria will enter a national lockdown from Monday, November 22nd, which will last at least ten days, Sky News reports. Officials in Austria have also just announced that from February 1st, 2022, vaccination against Covid-19 will be a legal requirement. Photo: Philipp Bachhuber Additional reporting by Carlos Hawthorn