A leaked internal economic impact assessment produced by the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) suggests the events industry will incur huge losses even if minimal Covid-19 restrictions remain in place beyond 19 July.
Should ‘high interventions’ such as reduced capacities, a ban on alcohol, and a need for facemasks continue, the ERP report suggests indoor non-seated events such as live music shows would see revenue fall to just 37% of 2019 turnover, while outdoor events including music festivals would see revenue fall to 64%.
As a whole, it suggests the events industry would average a turnover of only 69% of its 2019 level.
The assessment, seen by Playbook, suggests that if ‘medium interventions’ were to continue beyond Step 4, on average the industry would achieve just 78% of its 2019 turnover. Medium interventions include masks worn, Covid certification used, and a ban on alcohol.
Should ‘low intervention’ measures remain, with face masks the only blanket rule, the ERP findings suggest the events industry would achieve only 82% of its 2019 turnover. With outdoor non-seated venues managing just 82% of their 2019 revenue.
So far the Government has declined to publish the results of the ERP despite the initiative having been launched four months ago and the events industry repeatedly calling for the findings to be made public.
Playbook said it had obtained “a series of slides and graphs drawn up by officials and presented to ministers that lay bare the stark consequences for businesses if face masks and other ‘non-pharmaceutical interventions’ continue in Step 4 of Boris Johnson’s roadmap”.
It said the leaked data illustrated that the current measures under Step 3 of the conditional reopening roadmap meant the events industry is managing just 60% of its 2019 turnover. Indoor seated venues are on just 51%, indoor non-seated events 27% and outdoor non-seated just 52%.
In an effort to establish why relatively minor measures such as facemasks would continue to have a huge economic impact on the events industry, the ERP team surveyed 3,810 adults. The finding, seen by Playbook, suggested all interventions significantly decreased demand, with the exception of Covid testing – which boosts demand.
The research found mandatory Covid-19 testing meant people were 15% more likely to attend an event but the requirement to wear face masks meant people were 28% less likely to attend. A ban on food or drink meant people were 43% less likely to go.
As previously reported, the ERP pilots didn’t result in a significant spike in Covid transmission but according to Playbook the modelling found that maintaining any Covid restrictions would cost the economy billions of pounds and see many businesses close.
Reacting to news of the leaked data, LIVE CEO Greg Parmley said, “Today’s leak of some Government Events Research Program data confirms what we have been saying for the last year – that prolonged closure or lingering restrictions will be financially devastating for the live music industry.
“The ERP was supposed to give us the answers to how we reopen and the Government’s continued refusal to publish the report is both baffling and unacceptable. Every day that we are closed unnecessarily means millions lost to the economy and people across the UK losing their livelihoods.”