The Melbourne Night life scene was always a vibrant one. The city has always had the best nightlife in the country with many bars, pubs and clubs to visit. On any given night you would find hundreds of people dancing, bumping and jostling against each other in dark noisy and often confined spaces less than 12 months ago. That all became a thing if the past when clubs were forced to shutdown due to the Corona virus pandemic in March 2020. For a while, it was unclear whether they would reopen again in Melbourne or in any other city in Australia.
It felt like the end but the scientists and the government kept telling us if we stayed home and kept physical distancing regulations, wore our masks, washed and sanitized our hands a thousand times a day we should be able to curb the spread of the virus and give the scientists time to come up with a vaccine. On the 7th of December, the regulations were were lifted and people could once again go to clubs. So it looked like it would be a festive season but not for everybody. The Melbourne entertainment industry has been on life support for more than 9 months and some businesses would never be able to recover.
There are a couple of casualties that folded earlier on. Like Seven Night club which has been quite an institution in the bars and night club scene in Melbourne for years until it closed earlier before things even got that bad. It’s not just Covid that killed some business, some night clubs were suffering from a number of conditions.
Seven first opened on Albert Road in South Melbourne in 1999. Back then it could cater to 500 people but it has struggled in later years and the owners had put the club in Liquidation before the pandemic struck.
Some of the bars and clubs that went under include the Swanston Street eatery and bar, Lounge which has been a lynchpin of Melbourne’s club scene for 30 years closed down before the Corona virus pandemic hit Melbourne.
Another iconic late night establishment is Big Mouth which has been part of the St Kilda scene for almost 28 years. This establishment is not expected to open even with the lifting of restrictions.
A lot of bar night club owners are worried that even with the restrictions being lifted, it is still going to be hard to keep their places going. Not with the social distancing regulations in place. The whole idea of social distancing goes against the culture of night clubs and what the hospitality industry is all about. People go out to physically interact with people, social distancing is in direct conflict with this.
Owners who have scrimped and saved for years to open up their businesses have had to contend with the fact that their dreams might not work out as they had hoped. There were various things that businesses could do to keep afloat from getting discounts on their insurance to accepting government help. Some have had to look for alternative income streams like selling hand sanitizers to printing t-shirts. It’s been rough and it might get worse before it gets better.