Good news: three people who had been injured in the fire at a Bucharest club, Colectiv, on October 31st, were released from hospital today. A total of 41 remain in hospital: 19 in Romania and 22 abroad.
One of the consequences of the tragic events of Colectiv was the passing (almost immediately afterwards) of legislation which outlaws commercial activity in any building considered to be at high risk of collapse in the case of an earthquake. (Quite why it needed 61 people to die before such a sensible law were passed is a discussion for another day). The law has had a major impact on Bucharest’s nightlife scene, not least in the Old Town, were a number of decrepit buildings had become home to often rather swish establishments. The list of those venues which have permanently closed as a result both of the new law and as a result of more stringent fire regulations remains fluid. Some establishments have hurriedly made improvements to their evacuation procedures and have reopened, others may do the same as and when finance allows. This, however, is an option only available to venues closed as a result of being a fire risk. Those considered an earthquake risk will be closed permanently, or until the buildings in which they are housed are fully consolidated.
It is never pleasing to see a business close, not least when that business pays the rent (quite literally: our day job, Bucharest In Your Pocket has been hit hard by the aftermath of the fire, as a number of clients have been forced to close). And yet you know what? We fully support the new law. Safety has to come first. You’ll not, therefore, find us complaining.
We can’t say the same about certain other people, however. One such individual is Dragos Atanasiu, an entrepreneur and founder of Repatriot, an organisation which tries to convince successful Romanian emigrants to return home, this morning made public a notice from the city council ordering the immediate closure one of his businesses.
‘How can an entrepreneur who has invested hundreds of thousands of euros over three years in a successful restaurant receive such a notice?’ Atanasiu whinged, as if placing the lives of his customers in danger were not as important an issue as spunking his cash. ‘Sometimes I wonder why I support Repatriot.’
Given his attitude, maybe he shouldn’t.
No building at risk of earthquake damage today (those which sport a red disc such as the one pictured above) was not equally at risk three years ago. Atanasiu sounds a lot like those annoying bastards who buy houses next to airports and then complain about the noise of the planes. Maybe next time he will do a little due diligence, or – Heavens forbid! – invest his money in the consolidation of his properties, not merely their decoration.