Concern in the UK live events industry is mounting, with the BBC reporting it has been informed by Government sources that Covid-19 restrictions will remain in place for a further four weeks beyond the planned June 21 move to Step 4 of the reopening roadmap.
The BBC said senior ministers have signed off on the decision to delay the lifting of restrictions on social contact, which could mean maintaining capacity limits on outdoor and indoor events.
Prime minister Boris Johnson will announce the Government’s Step 4 plans at a news conference at 6pm today. Should the delay be announced as expected, the move will be put to a Commons vote this month, with Conservative backbenchers expected to resist the move.
Live music industry trade body LIVE, which is made up of 13 industry associations across the sector, has stated that a four-week delay will cost the industry £500m.
“The briefing we are seeing of a delay to our reopening later this month is devastating to the live music industry,” said LIVE CEO Greg Parmley. “Our research shows that a delay of a month would lead to the cancellation of over 5,000 planned events costing our industry hundreds of millions of pounds. Live music fears being left behind and irreversibly damaged as countries such as the Netherlands, Demark, Israel, the United States and Belgium announce they will begin running large full-capacity live events this summer.
“The Government said the Events Research Programme would give us the evidence we needed to open safely. We have spent the last three months participating in, and paying for, full-capacity pilot events that gave us this evidence. To protect the future of our industry we are calling for full transparency from the Government, for them to release the full report that proves how we can open safely and to work with us to give everyone the summer of music we all want.”
Meanwhile, the Night Time Industries Association said it had conducted a flash survey of its members that found one in four businesses will not survive longer than one month without further Government support and 50% no longer than two months.
The survey’s other findings were:
- 54% of businesses have spent over £15,000 in preparation for reopening on 21 June already and 17.8% have spent over £40,000.
- One in four businesses estimate they will lose over £40,000 per week in revenue whilst restricted from trading or closed due to the delay in the 21 June easing of lockdown.
- 58% of businesses estimate they will lose over £10,000 per week in revenue while restricted from trading or closed due to the delay in the easing of lockdown on 21 June.
- 33% of businesses estimate they will lose over 30% of their workforce due to the delay in the easing of lockdown on 21 June.
NTIA CEO Michael Kill said, “Distressed industries cannot continue to be held in limbo, as businesses are left to fall, any decision to delay without clarity on when they can open will leave us no other option but to challenge the Government, standing alongside many other industries who have been locked down or restricted from opening for an extreme length of time, through no fault of their own, and at their own cost.”
Meanwhile the Music Venue Trust called on the Government to reconsider the delay, issuing a statement entitled Don’t Fail Us Now.
It said, “This is not an exaggeration; with no funding in place to mitigate any delay in reopening we will see mass evictions and foreclosures by landlords and creditors who ran out of patience a long time ago. The risk of business closures, widespread redundancies and the decimation of our sector is as real now as it was in April 2020.”