One of the most renowned nightclubs in Georgia, KHIDI, was at the centre of police raids on Friday 3rd December forcing them to close.
The event was to protest all entertainment sectors being allowed to reopen except for nightlife. Authorities reacted to the nightclub reopening by following through with a raid on the venue.
The venue KHIDI is located along the Mtkvari River in Tbilisi and was broken into by police on 3rd December, forcing their first event in 21 months to be cut short.
According to co-founder, Johan Axander when the venue reopened on the 3rd December, they were operating at 75% capacity with a Green Pass system in place. It means attendees would require either double vaccination, demonstrate antibodies showing recovery from COVID or have proof of a negative PCR test.
Johan went on to say:
“It was the same protocols that we used before during our pilot event on October 8th together with the Cultural and Creative Industry Union that was supported by the Ministry of Health, with only four cases out of 1,500 attendees.”
A spokesperson for the Cultural and Creative Industries Union said clubs are on course to reopen, but KHIDI did not listen to these communications and wait until they were given the green light to reopen.
“I am working with the relevant authorities to get them open in time as restrictions will be lifted. But the fact is that KHIDI got warned not to host illegal events days before, but they still went ahead with it.”
It has resulted in KHIDI being hit with a fine of 10,000 GEL or around £2,500. The club received a “fine sheet and a tax report” which according to Johan, was “unprecedented” and not mentioned during the original police raid.
Nightclubs in Georgia have been shut for around two years now, with a few venues given reduced rental rates. As a result, KHIDI is paying heavily for their space, putting the venue in a precarious financial position.
“On our business loan we have accumulated a huge amount of interest over 21 months, our bank accounts frozen and private property arrested,”
Leaving Johan and his team trying to work out their next steps to reopen when restrictions ease.