The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) says there is “uncertainty and concern” surrounding the new lockdown exit strategy announced by Boris Johnson on 10 May.
Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, commented: “We recognise the challenges around balancing the measures to safeguard public health against securing the protection of the economy, but the NTE & events sector will collapse under any proposed restrictions on business capacity, enforced physical distancing, increased resource costs, and additional high level PPE. This brings into question not only the viability of businesses but whether this is something that can be managed within these spaces.
“The government must engage with the sector, at the right levels to understand and effect sector-specific recommendations, with a clear timeline and comprehensive re-engagement strategy, supported by an extended financial support provision, through sector-specific furlough & grants.
“Without this we will see 50% of these businesses fail and over 2 million jobs lost.”
Measures being suggested to help nighttime businesses include government regulations on commercial rent payments, an issue Access investigated in our latest magazine.
Ben Newby, Operations Director at MJR TEG, added: “The impact of social distancing on the night time, hospitality and entertainment industry is going to cause irreparable harm as the very essence of the industry is social interaction. At the moment, there are only two options being looked at. Either venues cannot open or they can open at reduced capacity.
“Neither of these options are sustainable or possible as both will result in job losses, closures and the end of the fourth biggest industry in the country in financial terms. The industry needs to be given a unique consideration as it will be the most impacted by its very nature. Instead of a gradual, staggered capacity return the industry needs to be supported by the government to allow them to remain closed without going out of business.
Extending the furlough period for the hospitality industry, VAT freeze of reduction, license fee suspension, for example, will allow all venues to have the time to plan and manage without having to come up with solutions of how to sustain a business that cannot trade at reduced capacity with no support. We then need to look at measures that will minimize and control the risk and reporting of infection so customer confidence can be strengthened.
“This will only work if the government announces with confidence that mass gatherings and social experiences can take place and will work with our industry to put realistic measures in place. Through responsible operations, communication and procedures from both the industry and government we can ensure that our world class entertainment, hospitality, venues, promoters and artists survive this time to continue the history of excellence that has been created so far.”