DOORS CLOSED: The Zone has closed until further notice, citing financial struggles.
DOORS CLOSED: The Zone has closed until further notice, citing financial struggles. Christian Berechree

Last call for The Zone

ROMA'S only nightclub will close its doors until further notice.

The Zone nightclub owner, Chris Van't Hof, said the Queensland Government lockout laws, introduced in July 2016, had made it impossible for The Zone to continue trading at this stage.

Mr Van't Hof said shifts in the Roma economy had also had an impact.

"It is an accumulation of things, primarily the change in closing times forced upon us by the State Government, combined with extra fees and costs,” Mr Van't Hof said.

"The Zone doesn't have a crowd until after midnight and two hours to cover increasing costs instead of the three hours we previously had. It is just not viable at this stage with the lack of people going out in Roma at the moment.”

The decision to close was not one Mr Van't Hof made lightly.

He said he will revisit the possibility of reopening in February.

The lockout laws restrict licensed venues, such as The Zone, from operating after 2am.

The laws are different in other areas and precincts and affect other licensed venues differently. Casinos and airports are exempt from the new laws.

Factoring in increased costs for cleaning, security, extra licensing fees and utility costs, when combined with decreased revenue, made running the nightclub unprofitable at present, Mr Van't Hof said.

"Our operating costs have got higher, to the point where we don't make money, when we've only got two hours of trade,” he said.

A statement on The Zone's Facebook page said management had tried to overcome the challenges created by the lockout laws.

Mr Van't Hof said The Zone had tried petitioning the Government, and had approached Member for Warrego Ann Leahy, who expressed her support for a removal of the lockout laws and restrictions.

Mr Van't Hof said Government restrictions were damaging the hospitality industry.

"How many people are just walking away? I believe the Queensland Government is destroying the hospitality industry,” he said.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What are your thoughts on The Zone closing and the lockout laws?

Let us know at editorial @westernstarnews.com, or send a text to 0409898904.


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