UK government minister Gillian Keegan says it’s “hard to see” clubs reopening

Skills minister Gillian Keegan has said that workers in the events industry may have to reskill and look for work elsewhere.

The Chichester MP and government minister took to Sky News yesterday (29 September) to discuss the future of UK nightlife. She told the channel, “It is hard to see how nightclubs will open until we have some kind of long-term way to deal with coronavirus.”

On being questioned about whether clubs will have to wait until there’s a vaccine, she said, “I’m not saying that, but it’s difficult to see how you could go to a nightclub within the rule of six… how can you socially distance and have a good time in a nightclub?”

“I think it is difficult to see how you could keep the coronavirus under control indoors, in those kind of situations which is why they haven’t been opened yet.”

Last week, Rishi Sunak announced his Winter Economy Plan, designed to protect jobs and businesses over the coming months as the UK’s furlough scheme ends in October. However, the newly-announced plan doesn’t include the live music and events sector. When asked about jobs within the nightlife industry, Keegan said, “As the chancellor has said, we cannot, alas, save every job. What we can do is give people the skills to find and create new and better jobs.”

Jobs that “don’t fit” with Covid-19 may take a “long time to come back”. She added, “We’re transforming the foundations of the skills system so that everyone has the chance to train and retrain.” In the interview, she advised workers to “take different routes in life”.

Today marks the Red Alert phase of the #WeMakeEvents campaign for the UK. The movement is calling for the government to launch a job support scheme, provide grants and loans, and help organisers and attendees to recover costs from cancelled events. You can help support the movement by writing to your MP, and sharing images and videos to your social media pages with the hashtag #WeMakeEvents.