‘Crushing’ impact of curfew on strip clubs as lap dances and strip teases banned

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Pole dancers and strippers face being sacked by cash-strapped clubs unless coronavirus rules change, it’s been warned.

Hundreds of performers as well as 150 waitresses, cleaners and bar staff face redundancy as a string of venues in Wales warn they face closure.

The clubs in Cardiff have been forced to shut-up-shop having only reopened as bars two weeks ago.

All staff – including dancers – were wearing full PPE and no striptease or pole performances were allowed, writes Wales Online.

Glenn and Jenny Nicole, who own Playhouse Gentlemen's Club, Fantasy Lounge, and For Your Eyes Only in Cardiff, have warned that if nothing changes by November it will be game over.

Jenny told Wales Online: “No striptease was allowed despite being a no-contact club. It doesn’t make sense that you can’t watch a pole dancer on stage despite the stage being over four metres distance, two metres more than the recommended guideline.

"All of my staff have kids and bills to pay. The new furlough offer doesn’t help us or this industry which has been forgotten.

"Why shut down the night-time economy? Why does the daytime economy take precedence over the night time? If something doesn’t change by the end of October I’m bust. I will lose my home and everything I’ve worked for.

"Telling my staff that we are now closed was crushing. Under the new scheme it doesn't help me and I can't afford to pay their wages anymore."

The owners warned that the 10pm curfew has killed the “forgotten” trade.

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Bars, cafés, and restaurants in Wales must stop serving alcohol at 10pm every night as part of new measures to limit the spread of coronavirus which came into force on September 24.

Kayla, 22, has worked at For Your Eyes Only as a dancer for two years.

Her mum, who is in her 50s, was admitted to hospital where she was in an intensive care unit (ICU) on a ventilator.

"It's been difficult," she said.

"My mum had the virus and was in ICU for the best part of the month. She's home now but she's been signed off work.

"We have been living off savings that I put away from work."

Kayla said no-one in the industry could see the curfew coming. She added: "Work have been great with PPE, masks and visors. We couldn't operate with pole shows or dances – it has just been conversation where we stayed two metres apart and wear masks.

"With this being closed we are just sitting and waiting to see what happens. It feels like the whole world is going against you.”

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Club co-owner Glenn is originally from New Zealand and said he was the first person in the UK to open an American-style strip club in 1995.

The 58-year-old said the businesses were doing well before the pandemic.

We spent all the money on PPE for two weeks' worth of trade and then we had to shut down.

"We have had no income or support. Working with the council we have only just managed to open as a bar.

"The 10pm curfew was just a death nail into our business.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We are helping as many businesses as possible and our rates relief scheme, business grants, and unique Economic Resilience Fund are providing support to thousands of firms across Wales.

"Some businesses have been unsuccessful when applying for financial assistance as they do not meet the eligibility criteria for Welsh Government support.

“Our support schemes are in addition to the UK Government’s, which should be explored in the first instance."

It comes only days after it was warned that one in four pubs cold shut for good under lockdown at a £7bn cost to the UK economy.

Nearly 12,000 boozers will shut with 290,000 job losses if rules reducing their capacity continue into the new year, estimates say.

Employment in the hospitality sector could fall by a third as beer sales slump by 15 per cent if restrictions become tougher over winter.

  • Coronavirus
  • Pubs

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