As covid-19 keeps businesses shuttered, the future of nightclubs, where social distancing is impossible, is bleak.
Two spokespeople for the Nightclub Hall of Fame and the American Nightlife Association, speaking about Las Vegas clubs, recently predicted that industry shutdowns may extend to 2021. “I think [nightclubs are] gone for at least the rest of this year—possibly part of next year,” said Ryan Dahlstrom of the Nightclub Hall of Fame in an interview with Las Vegas TV station Fox5.
In recent months, nightlife has moved online, as DJs and artists continue to live-stream sets and performances. And while some clubs in cities like New York are preparing for what reopening with social distancing would even entail, such as taking temperatures at the door, new covid-19 cases occurring in South Korea were directly linked to nightclubs after social distancing protocols were relaxed. In early March, more than one nightclub was linked to the spread of covid-19 in Berlin, where people travel from around the world to dance at famous clubs like Berghain.
The closing of nightclubs, which hurt not just club owners and workers but also DJs whose livelihoods rely on live performance and touring, could mean the end of the nightlife industry. “This will have a huge impact on our industry,” a DJ booking agent told Pitchfork in a story on clubs and covid-19. “For small agencies, artists, promoters, and venues, it will signify the end of business.”