NTIA demands reopening of night-time economy as thousands protest ongoing restrictions

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

NTIA demands reopening of night-time economy as thousands protest ongoing restrictions

Related tags Night time economy Protest

Thousands of people including industry workers from across the night-time economy took to the streets of central London yesterday (27 June) to protest ongoing lockdown restrictions imposed on the sector.

The #FreedomToDance march saw protestors gather outside the BBC on Regent Street before making their way towards Parliament Square, accompanied by open-sided trucks rigged with speakers blaring out DJ sets from the likes of Alan Fitzpatrick, Eats Everything, East End Dubs, Fat Tony, Franky Wah, Hannah Wants, Jess Bays, Max Chapman, Charlie Tee, Kizzy Alicia, SUAT, Seb Zito, SOSA, Waff, Summer Ghemati, and Wheats.

Electronic music community campaign group Save Our Scene (SOS) organised the demonstration having been approached by Kai Cant, the founder of record label Abode, with the initial idea. It was supported by SaveNightlife CIC - the Night Time Industries Association's (NTIA) cultural arm.

Much of the night-time economy has been forced to remain shut since the start of the pandemic, and the protest called for the Government to lift social distancing restrictions and allow those businesses still closed to reopen.

The removal of all legal restrictions on social contact in England had been scheduled for 21 June, but has since been postponed until 19 July.

Newly-appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid said over the weekend that he is confident the easing of lockdown restrictions will take place next month. 

The NTIA, which represents 1,200 independent bars, clubs and live music venues across the UK, has called on the Government to allow the night-time economy reopen immediately, after the first phase of a pilot scheme set up to explore the impact of large-scale events on Covid-19 transmission reported 'no substantial outbreaks'​.

Some 58,000 participants attended indoor and outdoor venues across the country, including in Liverpool, Sheffield and London, during April and May as part of the Events Research Programme (ERP), with just 28 associated cases of infection subsequently reported.

Of those 28 cases, the report found 11 were identified as potentially infectious at an event, and a further 17 were identified as potentially infected at or around the time of an event.

“We are being marginalised by a Government that has no regard or value for our sector, we have businesses suffering, peoples livelihoods destroyed and youth culture excluded,” says Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA.

“It's time to give us the certainty that we have been crying out for, and open the night-time economy fully, no more excuses.”

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