Nightclubs are being ‘picked on again’ says club owner ahead of Welsh closures

Peter Marks said his three nightclub venues in Wales will lose at least £200,000 from closures on New Year’s Eve.

Lily Ford
Friday 17 December 2021 19:08
PRYZM nightclub prior to lockdown restrictions (Pryzm/Rekom/PA)
PRYZM nightclub prior to lockdown restrictions (Pryzm/Rekom/PA)

The nightclub industry is being “picked on again” after the Welsh Government’s decision to close clubs ahead of New Year’s Eve the chairman of the board at Rekom UK, which owns three nightclubs in Wales has said.

Peter Marks said Rekom UK will lose at least £200,000 from the closure of nightclubs Atik, Pryzm, Fiction in Wrexham Cardiff, and Swansea, after First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the measure alongside the reintroduction of social distancing, barriers and one-way systems in businesses from December 27.

The 61-year-old, who has been working in the nightclub sector for 40 years, called the move “a virtue signalling political decision” and said it was “not based on any semblance of fact”.

He told the PA news agency: “We thought we’d done enough not to be picked on again, like some weakling in the playground, but once again the bully boys have moved in and started kicking us… I’m beyond angry.”

Peter Marks said Rekom UK will lose at least £200,000 from the closure. (PA)

A £60 million support package for businesses affected by the new restrictions has been announced, with more detail still to come on how funds can be claimed.

But Mr Marks has argued that this will not be enough to cover the loss of income suffered by his night clubs and others in Wales.

“When businesses close, they need to cover their fixed costs and they need their labour to be covered in furlough,” he told PA.

“But our fixed cost is 20% of our income and our furlough costs would be another 30% on top if we don’t get furloughed support.

“The £60 million promised would go absolutely nowhere, unless they put the whole thing into nightclubs only.”

Mr Marks said that his three venues in Wales alone will lose around £200,000 on New Year’s Eve but warned that the loss will be “vastly more” if restrictions continue in the following months.

He added that self-employed workers, including door staff, DJs and musicians, will be hit hard during the closures.

“If we don’t get proper furlough support, and I mean proper furlough support not something that appears generous but isn’t, then these people can’t get paid without us going bust,” he said.

In England nightclubs are still allowed to remain open but require proof of double-vaccination or a negative PCR or lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours for those attending some venues.

Mr Marks said he would rather have Covid passports than be forced to close but said the measure could still put people off going to nightclubs.

He said: “I would rather not be singled out as the only premises to have Covid passports because what that does is it perpetuates the myth that nightclubs are a particularly odious and a bad problem, which does no good for consumer confidence.”

Responding to journalists’ questions on Friday, Mr Drakeford said closing nightclubs aims to protect people at risk of catching Covid-19.

He said: “If you look at London, and you look to see where the most rapid growth has been in the Omicron variant, it has been people in their 20s and their 30s.

“While I’m always keen to think carefully about the differential impact that decisions have on different parts of the population, in this case I think you could say that we are discriminating in favour of younger people by taking action in a context where they are most likely to go, against the background of information about the way in which Omicron spreads.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in