Night-time economy will 'challenge Government' if denied opening on 21 June

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Night-time economy will 'challenge Government' if denied opening on 21 June

Related tags Night time economy Coronavirus lockdown Social Distancing

Any delay to the 21 June date for lifting all restrictions would leave many night-time economy businesses on a 'financial cliff edge', the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has warned.

The trade association, which represents 1,200 independent bars, clubs and live music venues across the UK, says any changes to the timeline will leave night-time economy businesses that have been forced to remain shut since the beginning of the first national lockdown in March last year with no option but to challenge the Government 'aggressively'.

It is currently working alongside key partners within different sectors to collectively challenge the Government if the decision goes against opening this month.

Fears are growing that the 21 June date for easing all social distancing restrictions could be delayed by up to a month due to rising cases of the Delta Coronavirus variant that was first identified in India.

Speaking on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show​ on Sunday (6 June), Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the Government is 'absolutely open' to delaying the final lifting of restrictions on 21 June.

A final decision either way will be made by the Government next Monday (14 June).

“Night-time economy businesses have waited patiently for their opportunity to open for over 15 months," says Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA.

"Many have not survived, some are on a cliff edge; hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost; a huge pool of talent has been swept away and left to suffer extreme financial hardship.

“We should not underestimate the importance of the 21 June to these businesses, employees, entertainers and freelancers, a day when they are given back there freedom to trade, livelihoods, careers, social well being, and the day that the Government gives culture back to the UK.

“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 taken from them."

A recent flash poll of NTIA members revealed that nine in 10 night-time economy businesses feel a delay to the roadmap will have a critical impact on their survival, with 95% having already made financial commitments and logistical preparations to reopen on 21 June.

“To delay would have a huge impact on the sector, losing many businesses, livelihoods culminating in further loss of confidence in the sector,” continues Kill.   

“We must be open on the 21 June. These businesses cannot wait one more week, they deserve this opportunity, given their continual commitment to the Government's public health strategy. 

“The decision to delay will leave us no other option but to challenge the Government aggressively, standing alongside many other industries who have been locked down or restricted from opening.”

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