LISTEN | How coronavirus has changed SA's party scene

LISTEN | How coronavirus has changed SA's party scene

Financial adviser Senamile Simayi's Fridays usually include pre-drinks at a friend's place before the group goes out clubbing.

It's their weekly ritual. But everything is about to change.

“Friday's are destress days. We use them to catch up over drinks and then go to groove for the vibes,” said Simayi.

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The national state of disaster declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday to combat Covid-19 — and subsequent measures announced in the wake of that decision — means that this isn't likely to be happening for some time.

Simayi and her mates will stay indoors, sipping on cocktails and binge-watching Netflix.

“It's not the same. Get-togethers indoors are fun, but going out is amazing. You get to dance, meet people and feed off their energies. The music hits differently in a club,” she said.

But for those whose livelihoods rely on public gatherings, the strict regulations are going to hurt — and in many cases, have started to hurt already.

“The effect that the pandemic has had on social spaces as a whole hits hard on creatives without a 9 to 5, who are surviving solely on the arts,” said Nomfundo Mtsweni, a Joburg-based DJ.

Mtsweni said that the cancelling of events, recalling of tickets and shifting of gigs had affected her financially. It had also taken an emotional toll.

“Especially when that is your mode of survival. How are you going to pay your rent? How are you going to keep food on the table?” asked Mstweni.

Among the measures announced were that the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages are prohibited between 6pm-9am from Monday to Saturday and 1pm-9am on Sundays and public holidays. These were announced in the Government Gazette, and signed by co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Naledi Dlulisa is an events manager in the Eastern Cape. She said that business was slow.

Her business thrives on mass gatherings, and with current measures in place, she has had to cancel events.

Tafadzwa Nyakotyo manages three social establishments in Makhanda, Eastern Cape. He said he was worried that his employees and their families would suffer if the pandemic wrought havoc for a prolonged period.

“As a manager, it pains me. Financially, it's a disaster for all businesses ... most cannot sustain a big wage bill if there is no income to sustain it,” said Nyakotyo.

While they are encouraging staff and individuals to wash their hands regularly, they have also done away with some of their late-night events to reduce the number of people visiting their establishments.

Nyakotyo said they had done away with daily promotions, DJs and any form of advertising that could entice extra patrons to their venues.

Even the big players have been affected.

The Taboo SA Group released a statement on Twitter stating that they are closing all of their venues until further notice. This includes Taboo, Onyx, Boa, Rouge and Rich Durban champagne and cigar lounge.