Nightclub Owners in Portugal on Brink of Collapse as New Laws Stifle Business

Night Clubs in Portugal remain closed after new laws proved impossible to enforce. image: Twitter
It has been just a week since new rules in Portugal that allow nightclubs to function as pastry shops or cafes came into force and the owners are already warning that the sector will soon collapse.


“This is not going to solve anything. It is a non-response and causes the same problems to remain in the sector. What it says is that the nightclubs have to remain closed”, said José Gouveia, from the National Association of Night Clubs.

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On 30 July, the Minister of State and the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, explained in the Council of Ministers that bars and clubs must remain closed unless the business are willing to operate under the rules set for cafes and pastry shops.

“The ones who thought they could do it, had already made it before the decision, but I insist that in disco clubs, due to their characteristics, the measure is impossible to be applied”, underlines José Gouveia- who also said that no nightclub had actually opened as a pastry or coffee shop.

“Nightclubs reach their peak from 1 am to 5 am. No nightclub can work until 8 pm”, stated João Fernandes, owner of three night-time establishments, in Lisbon.

“The new possibility does not come just with the timetable, but also with the necessity of having tables on the dance floor. It is a disco, tables do not dance or consume”, said António Fonseca, president of the Bars Association in Porto Historical Zone.

Liberto Mealha, president of the Disco Association of South and Algarve, considered that “the solution is not interesting” for nightclubs. The situation for Portugal’s nightlife has been described as ‘dire’ and ‘ready to collapse’ and the industry needs a fast solution otherwise their members will have to ‘close down the clubs forever’, said a spokesman.


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