Happy days are here for nightclubs and workers

PETALING JAYA: The day nightclubs have been waiting for is finally here – the government will allow them to open their doors again from May 15.

It’s also good news for workers in the industry as the outlets are already rehiring workers they had to let go two years ago.

TREC Holdings Sdn Bhd general manager Kelvin Lam said the announcement by the Health Ministry yesterday would benefit over 1,500 workers who had been affected by the pandemic.

He said entertainment outlet operators had started to rehire staff, booking event spaces and inquiring about the operations.

“The rehiring will also involve cleaning service providers, security guards and performers, among others,” he said.

Lam said the industry was ready to follow protocols laid down by the authorities.

“We have no issue with any SOP (standard operating procedure), we will follow it strictly.

“Operators will ensure that cleanliness and hygiene are always maintained,” he said.

Nightclubs were the only businesses under the negative list as at April 1, and have not been allowed to operate since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

However, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced yesterday that the negative list under the National Security Council’s (NSC) SOPs will be dropped as of May 15.

Khairy said the ministry would meet the industry players to understand their problems and find ways to address them.

Restaurant and Bistro Owners Association vice-president Jeremy Lim said his association, which also oversees nightclubs, had an engagement session with the ministry at the end of last month.

“It’s still an ongoing session with his team to finalise the protocols. Hopefully we have a clearer picture by next week,” he added.

Datuk David Gurupatham, co-founder of Industries Unite, said the decision to abolish the negative list would allow job creation while balancing safety of the rakyat.

“The minister kept his promise after listening to our plight during the meeting,” David said.

He added that, overall, the ministry’s decisions to ease the SOP would also benefit the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) as it would create confidence in the market and businesses.

“It shows that our immunisation programmes have been successful and will encourage the public to go out and spend to spur the economy,” he added.

Kuala Lumpur nightclub DJ Kenneth Wong was happy about the reopening but felt SOP compliance must still be emphasised.

“No doubt nightlife will come back, but we still have to ensure SOPs are followed,” said Wong, whose stage name is K3nji.

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