Tuesday, January 25

Vulkan Arena cancels concerts: – For us it is shutdown

With number limitation and table service, it is not a real alternative for Morten Guldvik to carry out the planned concerts at Krøsset and Vulkan Arena.

Morten Guldvik was actually supposed to receive concert guests at Vulkan Arena this weekend, but now it has been canceled.

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It is less than a day since the Støre government introduced new corona measures, the most stringent for the region around Oslo. From midnight, requirements were introduced for table service of alcohol and number limits at events inside.

At the pub Pokalen on the ground floor of Vulkan Arena in Oslo, the QR codes are back on the tables. The employees have worked through the night to return to the cash register system that supports it. The pub opens at 5 pm, as do the other ten Skagtindgruppen owners.

– We see that it works out in a way, but it is on the hanging hair, says general manager Morten Guldvik.

The QR codes are pasted back on the tables in the pub at Vulkan.

He is sitting on a chair at the entrance to the pub, while there are two employees arranging the room. It has been busy in the “crisis staff” to Guldvik on Friday morning.

The concert they were supposed to have on Saturday night has been canceled. More than 800 tickets were sold, according to Guldvik, but with the new rules, they can only let in 600 people divided into three cohorts with up to 200 in each.

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– No real alternative to implement

Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre emphasized on Friday that society has not been shut down, but this is not how it is experienced for Guldvik. He does not think the authorities understand the scope or consequences of the measures they have taken.

– I do not think they understand that what is happening here now, that for many, as for us at Vulkan Arena and Krøsset, it is a closure, he says.

In front of the stage and on the veranda above, people were supposed to be standing close together this weekend.

Should he complete the concert for the 230-240 he realistically thinks he could fit in at Vulkan Arena, if he divided into two cohorts and set the tables at some distance, there will be “no economy in it”, Guldvik believes.

A flight of stairs up from the pub is the stage in a room the size of a small gymnasium, Guldvik points out that they could put some tables in front of the stage and some on the balcony up another flight of stairs.

In his calculation, he could afford to pay the band Björn Rosenström from Sweden for travel, hotel and crew, but not fees with 240 tickets sold.

– There is no real alternative to implement it, he says.

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– It is not fair”

On Friday morning, Vulkan arena is empty, and this is how it will be for the next two weeks, before the government makes a new assessment. Despite closed doors both there and at Krøsset, the concert stage around the corner and up the hill, he will for the longest time avoid laying off employees.

– The last thing they need now is more uncertainty, he states.

– That I as a business owner lose some money, it’s broken, but this is bigger than just that, he adds.

He is committed and clear when he talks about the employees, and how he hopes for emergency solutions that allow him to keep them at work.

– They must have a sense of security so that the ghost of redundancy does not hang over them. It is not “fair”, he says.

At Pokal pub, hand alcohol is back on the tables.

During the pandemic, nightlife in Oslo has been subject to strict restrictions for a long time. Only in May was the bar reopened after seven months closed. Many of those who had worked in the industry have disappeared during the pandemic, and recently the service industry has been characterized by small and new staff, Guldvik describes.

Since most of the restrictions have disappeared, they have had a turn in training, and in recent weeks he has felt they were back where they were where things started to sit, people enjoyed themselves and “the team worked”, he says.

– Therefore, it hurts extra that it comes, he says and strikes one hand against the other.

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Nightclub hardest hit

The Food and Drink group is behind the restaurants Louise, Pastis Bistrobar and Lekter’n in Oslo, among others.

At the first-mentioned place, the Christmas table where the omikron infection in Oslo was discovered was arranged. Markus Gjelseth, CEO, says that the last few days have been hectic.

– We have been very busy collaborating with the district superintendent in Frogner district and FHI, he says.

– We have wanted to do everything we can to contribute to reduced infection, he adds.

On Friday, the table is set for new Christmas tables, and Gjelseth says that they will spend the day planning and reorganizing operations in accordance with the new guidelines.

Now they have to implement the new rules for increased infection control, but since the meter was not reintroduced, they do not need to reorganize the entire restaurant, Gjelseth says.

They are still receiving new Christmas table orders, and have not experienced as many cancellations in the last 24 hours.

The brothers Joppe and Markus Gjelseth run several nightclubs and restaurants through the company Mat & drinks group.

There is another part of the operation that is harder hit this time around.

– It is clearly the nightclub part of our operation that is hardest hit, he states.

At nightclubs, they must also move away from bar service, which Gjelseth describes as an efficient form of operation. Those who work in the bars are also trained for it, and not necessarily in the waiter systems, he points out.

– In addition, there is such a burden financially and in terms of staffing, he adds.

Vulkan Arena closes for concerts after the government introduced new measures.

Now Guldvik hopes that people are not scared away from the nightlife, but go out and enjoy themselves within the regulations that are.

– It is badly needed, so we can keep the remaining wheels running, he says.


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