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Other official comments on the new delay in lifting COVID regulations

By | Published on Tuesday 15 June 2021

Live Music

Live music industry comments on the delay to lifting COVID-19 restrictions in England – read our full report here.

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association Of Independent Festivals: “AIF understands the rationale for delaying step four of the lockdown roadmap. However, any measures that prevent festivals from operating fully have to be counterbalanced with effective support to ensure businesses can survive. For those festival organisers that still have a chance of staging events after 19 Jul, that support is government-backed insurance, which will give them the confidence to continue planning and commit the significant costs that entails. We also must not forget those festivals that have already been forced to cancel or will do so as a result of the delay – they will need a swift and comprehensive financial package to help them survive until the 2022 sales cycle”.

Andy Lenthall, General Manager at the Production Services Association: “The live events sector has worked tirelessly with government to create guidance and run self-funded test events to ensure a safe return to full opening, there has been no data that shows a well organised event is more dangerous than going to a supermarket, a cricket match or singing in the enclosed concourse at Wembley Stadium. It is abundantly clear that current increases in cases are not connected with live events, yet this sector is being harmed further by the delayed return to activity. Our members, the suppliers to well organised, professional live events, have once again been left without any indication of how they will be supported whilst the sectors they serve are shuttered by government”.

Jonathan Brown, CEO of the Society of Ticket Agents And Retailers: “STAR’s members will once again work tirelessly to help ensure that disappointed fans still get to see the events they have booked for, if they can be rescheduled. However, the consequence of this further delay to full re-opening on all corners of the live entertainment industries needs urgent recognition and government support if there is not to be irrevocable damage to a major employer, accounting for tens of thousands of jobs, a major revenue provider contributing billions of pounds to the Exchequer, and a globally recognised flagship of the UK’s cultural and tourism offering”.

Greg Marshall, General Manager at the Association For Electronic Music: “The government decision to delay all clubs and live events re-opening at full capacity for another month seems out-of-step with preliminary findings from the Events Research Programme which indicate that events can return safely if the correct safety protocols are in place. This delay will seriously impact the sector and must be accompanied by effective financial support for the businesses and individuals affected”.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association: “This is a hugely devastating blow for the very industries that have been hardest hit by this pandemic; in a very real sense, the Prime Minister has ‘switched the lights off’ for an entire sector. Many businesses have not survived this pandemic and others are on a financial cliff-edge, unable to operate viably”.

“Hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been lost, a huge pool of creative talent has been swept away, and we have been left to suffer extreme financial hardship. This delay will drive confidence in the sector to a new low, culminating in more of our workforce being forced to leave the industry, and customers, who have been starved of social engagement, attending illegal unregulated events in place of businesses that are well-operated, licensed and regulated”.

“These businesses are overburdened with debt and so any decision to delay the full reopening of our sector must be paired with a robust financial support package, including additional restriction grants, exclusion from furlough contributions, extension of loan repayment holiday for CBILS/BBS as well as business rates and VAT relief for the next twelve months, not forgetting the £2.6 billion in commercial rent debt left unresolved”.

“The government must understand the human impact of this decision, not only considering the public health challenges of the virus but also the people within our sector who are suffering terribly and the real health risks that this represents. This is particularly important given the overwhelming confidence in the vaccination rollout, and the ability for our sector to deliver COVID safe and regulated environments”.

“Distressed industries cannot continue to be held in limbo, with thousands of businesses left to fall. This delay, which again offers no clarity on when businesses can open, is leaving many in the industry angry and frustrated, alongside other businesses who have been locked down or restricted from opening through no fault of their own, and at their own cost”.

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