A delay to the current pandemic road map will decimate the night time economy, business leaders have warned.
The NTIA - Night Time Industries Association - has reacted to leaked reports that Boris Johnson is set to push back the timeframe for easing pandemic restrictions.
Beleaguered businesses could face another four weeks in limbo, a decision that the NTIA say could have devastating consequences.
With scientists warning of a third wave it seems that rules could be maintained or toughened, rather than relaxed.
Responding to these leaked reports, the NTIA CEO Michael Kill comments:
“Night time economy businesses have waited patiently for their opportunity to open for over 15 months, many have not survived, some are on a financial cliff edge, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, a huge pool of talent has been swept away and others have been left to suffer extreme financial hardship” “We should not underestimate the importance of the 21st June to these businesses, employees, entertainers and freelancers, a day when they should be given back there opportunity to trade, regain their livelihoods, careers, social well being and the day that the Government is due to give culture back to the UK”.
“Many of these businesses and individuals have adapted, overcome and survived for an exceptional length of time with the bare bones of support, and have arrived at this opportunity to find that it could be ripped away from them.”
“Any delay will drive confidence in the sector to a new low, culminating in workforce leaving the sector, and customers who are 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, so any decision to delay will make them heavily reliant on the Government to extend financial support and relief, 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 12 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, given the overwhelming confidence in the vaccination rollout, and the ability for the sector to deliver Covid safe environments.”
“Distressed industries cannot continue to be held in limbo, as businesses are left to fall, any decision to delay without clarity on when they can open will leave us no other option but to challenge the Government, standing alongside many other industries who have been locked down or restricted from opening for an extreme length of time, through no fault of their own, and at their own cost.”
The NTIA are urging the UK government to extend Restriction Grant for Businesses, Business Rates relief, and improve the insurance for festivals and outdoor events.
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