Seafront nightclub could close for good, owner says
- Credit: Archant
A nightclub owner who has told of his heartbreak and frustration after clubbing stopped due to Covid-19 fears the business will not survive beyond January.
Mario George built a strong following at The Empire Lounge in Great Yarmouth - the last club left on the seaside strip, and an anchor attraction.
But social distancing, the 10pm curfew, and a ban on dancing have made it impossible to trade.
He has been shut for eight months, and has had to lay off trusted staff - but has received only £5,000 in government support.
“I can keep going until January,” he said.
You may also want to watch:
He said he was “hitting his head against a brick wall” trying to lever some help to ensure he was still there when the clubs reopened.
To keep ticking over costs at least £3,000 a month in rent and bills.
- 1 PE teacher banned after getting drunk and showing her breasts at school prom
- 2 Welcome to our new website
- 3 Would you know what to do if your car hit a deer?
- 4 What was ‘strange stretched circle’ spotted over Norfolk skies?
- 5 Whale washes up off Norfolk coast
- 6 MPs call for Norfolk to be in own coronavirus tier
- 7 Encouraging signs as Covid infection rates plummet in parts of Norfolk
- 8 Plea for help to trace missing heavily pregnant woman
- 9 Four men caught at £2m Norfolk cannabis factory
- 10 More than 50 pupils sent home after student tests positive
Mr George said the club was a big draw for the seafront and was well established.
Last year he invested heavily in a new sound system and he felt it was unfair that he had not received the financial support that other venues had because he was in a shared building.
He said he had been able to prove to Great Yarmouth Borough Council officers, who are awarding the grants, that he had paid £8,000 a year in business rates, making him eligible for the £25,000 handout.
He said: “The money would have made a massive difference. In an ideal world I want to reopen and get back to business as normal.
“I want some support so that when Covid is over we can do that.
“We shut when we were told to shut. We have done everything we have been told. There are only two nightclubs left. Do they want us to close?”
He added: “It makes me feel heartbroken being shut and The Empire just sitting there as I have invested a lot of time, money and effort into making a successful business.”
He added it was upsetting having to make good people redundant.
On a pre-Covid Saturday night he was full to capacity, with some 400 people enjoying the party in the first-floor venue, which includes an outdoor terrace overlooking the sea.
The venue is in the landmark Tower Complex on the Golden Mile, once home to Tiffany’s and Caesars Bar - both of which have been consigned to history.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council has been approached for a comment.