London’s iconic The Royal Albert Hall, Harvey Goldsmith CBE’s favourite venue, has shut down as a reaction to the coronavirus.

It becomes the first major UK arena to do so. The venue posted a statement, expressing that it is reliant on ticket sales and does not receive Government funding:

“In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and following advice from Government, we have taken the decision with a heavy heart to close the Royal Albert Hall from midday today, Tuesday 17 March, to the public until further notice,” reads a statement from the historic 5,272-capacity venue, which was due to host the Teenage Cancer Trust shows with Mumford and Sons, Stereophonics, Noel Gallagher and the Who next week.

“The safety and security of our artists, audiences and staff is, ultimately, all that matters.

“We’ve been here for the nation for almost 150 years in good times and bad. We exist to be open, to entertain, to inspire. Our doors are made to be open to the world and so it goes against everything in our nature to close them. But these aren’t normal times, and we find ourselves in the unique situation where closing our doors is the best way to look after the world.”

The statement goes on to say that while the impact of the closure will be “financially devastating”, it has committed to paying its staff while the hall is closed.

“The consequences of these national actions are going to be hugely damaging. The Royal Albert Hall does not receive regular government support and is dependent on income related to events, which will not be happening,” it continues. The lost income from closing the venue will be financially devastating.

“We invest millions of pounds every year just to look after our building, but our main costs are our staff, whose livelihoods are at stake. We have committed to pay our people through various closure scenarios, and any support you are able to give us would be enormously appreciated.”

“Take care of yourselves, and we’ll see you again when this is over,” the statement concludes.