Although there are some alternatives to keeping the business going after the government’s latest restrictive measures limiting the opening hours of catering facilities and entertainment venues, the operators of these establishments are not very optimistic.
The Hungarian government’s latest decision states that starting 21st September, all entertainment venues and catering facilities have to close at 11 pm. The detailed regulation stipulates that between 11 pm and 6 am, only the personnel is allowed at these premises, the only exception being the picking up of deliveries. Furthermore, venues are still not allowed to hold events with more than 500 participants.
With new times come new habits?
As Azonnali writes, the decision came as a “cold shower” for the catering sector. According to Gábor Manek, who is the operator of several famous venues in Budapest, such as techno club LÄRM and the restaurant Dobrumba, this could mean a final blow to these places as a great deal of their revenue comes from turnover after 11 pm. But Manek is not giving up any soon:
Some potential alternatives are techno parties that start in the afternoon, moving concerts a few hours ahead, or simply streaming the events online.
Manek also hopes that “new times will bring new habits”, meaning that if people start going out earlier, it will eventually transform the entertainment sector as a whole. Dániel Ágoston, DJ and head of communication at Dürer, also thinks that daytime parties could be the future, similarly to what has been the case in Berlin and several parts of France, for example.
“Prepared for the worst”
Even if there are some alternatives as to how to hold the events, the 11 pm closure is a very painful blow even for pubs that predominantly have Hungarian guests. And when it comes to the personnel, hopes are not very high, either. People are being laid off or have been forced to do part-time jobs, very often working as deliverymen.
“If I got proper support from the government, I would be willing to close even earlier than 11”
According to Manek (LÄRM), Hungary is the only place in Europe where the music industry and catering sector do not receive proper support from the government. Financial aid is only provided for individual events and on a tender basis, which is very little to help an entire industry.