Night-time hospitality industry launches report to save sector

Millie Milliken

Millie Milliken

24 August 2020

Nightclub, late-night bar, music venue and event space operators are calling on the government to accept a reopening plan that has been backed by the Institute of Occupational Medicine

According to data compiled by the Night Time Industries Association, 60% of venues are at risk of closing in less than two months, while more than eight in 10 operators will cut one third of jobs before September. 

The UK late-night leisure sector contributes £66bn to UK GDP (6% of total GDP) and employs 1.3m people,(8% of the UK’s total employment). Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk as the end of the furlough scheme comes to an end.

'The late night leisure sector, a sector which employs tens of thousands of people across the UK, is at risk of collapse if the government does not act now – it is that simple,' commented Peter Marks, CEO at The Deltic Group. 'Despite the furlough scheme continuing until the end of October, the lack of clarity from the government around reopening and financial assistance for operators is alarming to say the least, especially as it is inevitably resulting in closures and widespread unemployment. We need a clear reopening plan, or at the very least fit-for-purpose financial assistance.'

As it stands, late-night operators do not have a clear plan for reopening amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with many also not qualifying for grants, bounceback loans or Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes. 

'We have now reached a critical point. In the absence of a clear reopening strategy from government, or the promise of financial support, huge numbers of businesses within our industry are facing financial collapse and thousands of job losses,' said Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association.

'The report we have launched today clearly shows that there is a case for the safe reopening of nighttime leisure venues, including nightclubs, late night bars, live music venues and event spaces. Whilst many of these are large capacity venues, it is important to note that they already have many of the safety protocols in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

'We implore the government to give us the opportunity to reopen in a safe, risk-assessed way. Doing so will protect thousands of jobs, contribute to the struggling UK economy and ensure our towns and cities remain economically healthy and culturally vibrant.'

With the support of the Institute of Occupational Medicine, the consortium has released a report examining the science behind Covid-19 and how to mitigate the spread of the virus. Key findings from the report include:

  • The core market for clubs and venues are amongst the lowest at risk in the hospitality sector
  • Clubs and venues have more mitigation control measure than retail, most pubs, restaurants, households and illegal raves
  • People turn up for an optimum period of typically two hours meaning the capacity at any one time is within the total capacity of venues
  • Capacity restrictions to 75% of legal building occupancy ensures social distancing is possible.

The report also highlights the safety measures that can be implemented, many of which are already in place:

  • ID scans
  • Temperature checks
  • Crowd control using security personnel
  • Contactless payment
  • Sophisticated ventilation systems
  • Large square footage to help with social distancing
  • Frequent and high intensity cleaning regimes

Other factors highlighted by the report include the fact that, according to the Deltic Night Index May 2018 report, consumers spend approximately £17.56 with local businesses in preparation for a night out, meaning that if clubs don't reopen, high streets and local businesses will also be affected.

There has also been an increase in illegal raves since lockdown began, so the reopening of clubs will allow for the public to frequent safe and regulated spaces, while the permanent closure of late-night venues will also limit job opportunities for 18-25 year olds.

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