The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO Paul Reed has reacted to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s social distancing clampdown relating to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“For AIF and its member festivals, the health and safety of the public is a top priority. It is therefore important that the latest medical advice around social gatherings is heeded,” he said.

“However, AIF echoes wider industry calls for urgent clarity from Government on whether there will be a formal ban on events, when that might come into effect and which events will be impacted.

“The Prime Minister’s announcement amounts to a ban on live events and while we understand the measures taken, we also urge the Government to classify it as such.

“The lack of such clarification creates widespread confusion and greatly harms promoters’ efforts to weather this unprecedented storm.

“Our members have already spent millions of pounds in non-recoupable costs and there is no safety net. We also call for immediate, decisive action to support these businesses and help minimise the lasting effects this crisis will have on the livelihoods of those working in the independent festival sector and beyond.”