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Warehouse Project’s Sacha Lord: “10pm curfew actually helped to spread the virus”

Nightlife industry leaders are calling for the public to submit evidence to the parliamentary inquiry into COVID's impact on the sector

  • Patrick Hinton
  • 22 January 2021
Warehouse Project’s Sacha Lord: “10pm curfew actually helped to spread the virus”

A number of nightlife industry leaders are calling for fans to submit evidence to the parliamentary inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on the night-time economy.

Evidence for the inquiry can be submitted via an online survey accessed through the Night Time Industries Association’s (NTIA) website here.

Read this next: MPs launch urgent inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on UK nightlife

Several thousands responses have been submitted so far, and nightlife sector figureheads are calling for more responses from workers and fans invested in the industry to assist the inquiry.

They also had some critical words for the government’s lack of support for nightlife during the pandemic.

Sacha Lord, co-founder of Parklife Festival and Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, said: “Sadly, over the last 10 months, we have seen many closures and job losses and without an intervention of support, we are going to see many many more. We know the 10pm curfew wasn’t a SAGE decision and, in fact, actually helped to spread the virus by pushing hundreds and thousands of people out onto the streets at the same time.

“Our industry has been damaged by leaks and rumours, and it is imperative that there is clarity, transparency and a clear roadmap so that businesses have time and enough warning to open in a safe fashion.”

Read this next: INA calls for "maximum penalty" for illegal pandemic party organisers

Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, spoke about a clear exit strategy is desperately needed to help the sector plan for its future, saying: “Commercial rents have been a travesty, with over 70% of businesses within the sector in more than 2 quarters of rent arrears and with debts mounting day by day. Time is running out and there seems to be no rush to find a resolution.”

”We are overwhelmed by the support that the APPG has received in a very short period of time and look forward to analysing the results from the inquiry to present a formal report to the Government. We ask all those who work in the Night Time Economy, or simply enjoy a night out, to continue sending in your responses to our survey to make your voices heard.”

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality, said: “For almost a whole year, our hospitality businesses have traded below profitability and just 1 in 5 have enough cash to get beyond February. Businesses cannot plan, cannot negotiate with landlords, and cannot see a way out of this crisis while they have no certainty about when they will reopen, the conditions in which they reopen, and the support available. With the right support, the Night Time Economy can get back to being the engine of economic growth for our towns and cities to recover and flourish.”

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, Chief Executive of UK Music, said: "When the time for the post-pandemic recovery comes, the music industry can help power our country’s economic and cultural revival. But to play that key role in the recovery phase, we must ensure our sector gets the support it needs to survive through the worst of the pandemic.”

Amy Lamé, Night Czar for the City of London, said: “London’s nightlife is the envy of the world and a major contributor to our economy, but it has been devastated by the impact of COVID-19. It urgently needs financial support from Government if we are to have any chance of saving the hospitality and wider night-time economy. That means targeted financial support for those that have had to close, an extension to the business rates and VAT holiday, as well as support for the freelancers who are so integral to the industry but often excluded from the support packages. Otherwise we may not have any venues to return to when the restrictions are lifted.”

Read this next: London's Night Czar: “The government needs to give nightclubs financial support"

In the wake of Glastonbury’s cancellation, the NTIA also called for the government to “recognise the impact of the negligible levels of support given to the festival and events sector”

UK Music recently warned British music festivals will be cancelled again this year unless the government steps in to provide support.

Michael Kill said: "Devastating announcement from Glastonbury Festival, such an important date within the festival calendar for many, and will be devastating for festival goers and businesses looking at the summer season, and the opportunity to trade in 2021"

"The Government must recognise the impact of the negligible levels of support given to the festival and events sector, and work through a solution that will safeguard the sector, and allow the 2021 festival and events season to take place across the UK"

Find out more about the parliamentary inquiry here.

Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on Twitter

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