What became good news for many, that Club Space Miami is re-opening this weekend after Gov. Ron DeSantis eased lockdown restrictions in Florida, became bad news for most: in order to abide by strict safety guidelines Space Mami patrons will need to fork out thousands of dollars for table service to experience the club’s re-opening in the current COVID months.
Setting aside personal and political opinions on whether re-opening clubs right now is a good idea or not, what is happening at Club Space Miami is giving us a glimpse of the state of the nightlife industry under COVID and its possible direction in the months to come.
This upcoming Saturday, October 10th Space’s doors will open at 4pm and attendees will be able to dance to The Martinez Brothers until the city’s curfew at 11pm, but only if they have a pricey table reservation. The party will then continue Sunday morning from 6am until 11pm once more, requiring new table reservations of course.
According to various sources, table costs vary from $2,500 to $4,500 or more for a total of 6 people, depending on where the table is located on the dance floor. This is excluding tax and tip of course.
— CLUB SPACE™ (@clubspacemiami) October 5, 2020
It’s important to state some facts: Club Space is reopening after many months of closure dictated by COVID lockdowns that saw the nightlife industry receive little to no support from local, state and federal governments. The world-renowned club is also forced to adhere to strict guidelines in order to re-open, and these include temperature screening at arrival, regular COVID testing for staff, limited capacity to 25% of the club’s max occupancy of 1,200, no dance floor, mandatory facemasks when entering/leaving the venue and their table and more.
Yet, as news of table costs began to surface and do the rounds online, it became clear that not everyone itching to get back to the dance floor (albeit restricted and distanced) will be able to do so. Simply put, the table prices that Club Space is demanding are high, and only those with plenty of cash to spare will be able to afford them.
After 7 months of lockdown, little government assistance and a dwindling unemployment rate, this has left plenty of Florida dance music fans sour and frustrated.
I must note that this isn’t necessarily a critique of Club Space, but rather highlights the direction the nightlife industry is forced to go towards in order to survive through these tough months. It is pretty obvious that the club cannot be expected to operate at a loss, and that their choice of operating on table service alone is not only dictated by social distancing restrictions, but also by their needs to make the bottom line make sense.
Yet, this brings up a very important question regarding the imminent future of clubbing under COVID: will it only be accessible by those who can afford table service? Is clubbing in the COVID era only for the rich?
COVID’s unexpected take-over of our lives has left the nightlife industry at serious risk of survival. In the United States we have seen very little help from our Government both on a personal and small-business scale, while in the United Kingdom the Chancellor has gone so far as to suggest that artists should consider a change of career. Elsewhere, in countries like France, Italy, Spain and Germany, restrictions keep getting eased and then re-imposed, dictated by the virus spread’s ebb and flow.
The next few months will be telling of course. We will not only find out if the measures put in place in states that are re-opening, as well as Space Miami specifically, work in preventing the spread of COVID, but we will begin to see the lasting and permanent changes on the nightlife industry after months of lockdowns and financial hardship.
Photos courtesy of Club Space Miami Facebook Page