Nightclubs and pubs are facing “total annihilation” unless the sector is allowed to reopen, warned a coalition of businesses today.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the group said that despite most states moving into Phase 4 of the national recovery plan, nightclubs and pubs are still on the negative list – which they said may have been “inadvertently” kept in place.
The statement was issued by Industries Unite, a coalition of 117 trade associations and chambers of commerce, as well as associations from the retail and hospitality sectors.
The group believes that in addition to the operators, at least 150,000 to 250,000 direct and indirect jobs are at stake with the continuous closure of the nightclubs and pubs.
“With the opening up of interstate travel and domestic tourism currently, we envisage the opening up to international tourism soon and the local nightlife and entertainment sector, including nightclubs and pubs, will be sought after by these foreign tourists as well,” it said in the letter.
“Therefore, the longer it remains closed, the closer we are to the total annihilation of this sector.”
It also warned of a “tsunami of unemployment claims” should authorities continue to prolong the closure of nightclubs and pubs, and other businesses under this sector, with no exit roadmap in place.
Stating that these nightlife and entertainment outlets are in “hibernation mode”, the group said the majority of their employees are on no-pay leave and they are currently supported by the government’s wage subsidy programme – along with other sources of temporary employment.
They added that entertainment outlets – including cinemas, theme parks, night clubs, and pubs – are essential to mental and emotional well-being, especially with the public having been under tight movement restrictions for most of the past 19 months.
Source : FMT