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Lifestyle

Spanish nightclub industry draws up code to allow safe partying

FILE PHOTO: Dancers perform over the crowd during a water party inside Paradis disco in San Antonio in the Spanish Balearic island of Ibiza early June 2, 2012. The island of Ibiza is one the top locations chosen by British citizens to spend their holidays. REUTERS/Enrique Calvo

MADRID (Reuters) - Dancing with masks on, sipping drinks with straws and keeping to marked off areas of the dance floor are among post-lockdown safety proposals aimed at helping Spain’s nightclubs reopen their doors in time for the summer season.

Clubs have been shut since the government imposed one of the most stringent coronavirus restrictions in Europe in March, which devastated the tourism sector that accounts for more than 12% of Spanish GDP.

With the lockdown now easing, the National Federation of Leisure and Entertainment Businesses (FNEOE), an industry group, and the Institute for Quality Tourism, a lobby group, have drawn up safety guidelines as they wait for the green light for clubs to open.

The plan recommends masks should be compulsory on the dance floor and clubbers would have to wash their hands as they enter and leave discos. Dance floors would be clearly marked off from other parts of clubs so customers did not mix and drinks would only be served with disposable straws.

The nightlife sector, including “super clubs” on the island of Ibiza such as Pacha, Amnesia, and Eden that are popular with tourists, produces annual revenue of some 20 billion euros ($22 billion), according to the FNEOE.

Getting it restarted will depend on the approval of the government, which has so far only allowed bars to open outdoor terraces, and with limited capacity. There is no word yet on when nightclubs will be allowed to open.

“These guidelines were drawn up by doctors to try to ensure that people can enjoy an essential part of the Spanish life in a safe way,” said FNEOE spokesman Vicente Pizcueta, adding that he hoped things will return to normal in July.

Reporting by Graham Keeley; Editing by Frances Kerry and Angus MacSwan

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