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Nightclub owners seek time extension beyond 12 am

Tenzin Lhaden 

As the time limit was set on nitery, the late-night business owners in Thimphu are not happy with the early closing time pointing to several issues. 

The closing time is set at 12 am. 

This, the Thimphu Thrompon Ugyen Dorji is said that the timing has been changed as per the Prime Minister’s Office Press Release issued for lifting the COVID-19 restrictions. “We adopted the closing timing purely based on the press release from the PMO,” said Thrompon. 

Regarding the closing timing of 12 am, the Manager of a nightclub, Viva City indicated that the party hours are not sufficient. “We open our club at 8 pm, but customers come in late,” said the manager, Choki Dorji.

He added that customers spend time drinking and dancing, and once they are tipsy, they don’t want to leave just at closing time because by the time they are having fun, it will be 12 am and have to close the business. 

Along similar lines, Space 34, another nightclub’s manager in Thimphu said that the closing time is not up to their satisfaction as the customers visit the club at around 10-11 pm. 

“As soon as the customers get inside and start having fun, we literally have to send them back. Even during weekends, we have to close at 12 am which is very limited to run such a business,” said the manager, Jamyang Tashi. 

Worsening the situation, the Space 34 manager said that the business has loans and the rent for the discotheque space is about Nu 180,000, and there is staff salary and other overhead expenses. “We only operate three times a week and each business duration is about three hours, this much is only sufficient to generate income for paying rent,” he said.

He also added that such businesses need to hire a lot of employees, and as every employee needs to work during the night, consequently, there are many overhead expenses. 

On the revision of allowing discotheques to open business throughout the week except on Tuesdays, he said that it is not a viable option to run parties all the weekdays. “For just three nights over four weeks, we are paying Nu 30,000 as electricity bill and the traffic is only on weekends,” he said.

He further added that if they run parties all days of the week, they will end up paying more electricity bills than actually generating income to run such a high-cost establishment.

Adding to the limited time issue, the managers also pointed out that people are taking such parties outside the discotheques and this is a dangerous trend. “When people start partying outside, they may create problems and also disturb other people,” said a nightclub manager. 

He also added that this is the reason fights and accidents occur. 

The manager said that if party time is extended, people will dance or go around discotheques and this will naturally get tired and they will go home. 

Additionally, discotheque owners are crying foul because their business has been impacted by the pandemic, and when the time has come for recovering their losses, the government is adding another stumbling block. 

Before the pandemic, the clubs were closed at 2 am so the customers could have fun with their friends without worrying about the closing time, said the nightclub owners. “If the closing time is extended, the customers will have a few drinks, dance and whoop up with their friends at the club only,” add the nightclub owners.

They said that with the limited party time, partygoers don’t go home directly and they end up partying somewhere else creating unnecessary problems for themselves and for others. 

Some office workers express that timing for nightclubs set till 12 am is sufficient because they won’t feel tired the next day. Nevertheless, they stated that it needs to be extended on weekends to relieve their stress after a tiring week in the office, for entertainment, and socialization purposes.

 At the same time, some housewives express that 12 am is more than enough for nightclubs as they have to wait a long night for their husband’s return. Even a few seconds, they get to spend with their husband is what makes them happy, said some housewives. 

“On weekdays they are already busy with their work,” they said. 

Housewives said that limiting party duration is a dissuading factor for partygoers, and it is definitely a positive rule. 

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