NTIA to “challenge” UK government if Covid-19 restrictions remain after 21 June

© Giulia Spadafora

According to the NTIA, 95% of businesses have already made financial commitments and logistical preparations to reopen from the previously proposed date.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has said that it will legally “challenge” the UK government if the proposed lifting of Covid-19 restrictions on 21 June in England is delayed. The comments were made in response to reports that UK lockdown easing could be “delayed by a fortnight”. If actioned, the delay would enable people aged over 50 to be fully vaccinated before restrictions are lifted. Though, it would also mean that clubs and festivals won’t be returning from 21 June as previously outlined. 

Boris Johnson is expected to confirm if the proposed easing will go ahead on Monday (14 June). NTIA has vowed to pursue legal action if night time economy businesses and venues – many of which have been shuttered since March 2020 – are unable to reopen on 21 June. In a statement, NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: “Night time economy businesses have waited patiently for their opportunity to open for over 15 months, 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.”

A recent NTIA member survey revealed that 64% of venues and businesses have already booked entertainment, with 80% financing marketing and promotional materials. Elsewhere, the survey showed that over 60% of businesses have sold tickets to club nights, shows and events. “It is clear from a recent flash poll of members that businesses are vulnerable, with nine in 10 businesses feeling this will have a critical impact on their survival,” says Kill. “The industry has spent millions in preparation for June 21, 95% of businesses have already made financial commitments and logistical preparations to reopen.” [sic]

“We must be open on June 21, these businesses cannot wait one more week, they deserve this opportunity, given their continual commitment to the government’s public health strategy,” he adds. “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.”

In March, when details of the 2021 Budget were published, the music industry expressed concerns over the lack of a government-backed insurance scheme for festivals. Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee said, “It is greatly disappointing that the government appears not to have heard our call to give its backing to cancellation insurance schemes for festivals, which would provide a safety net should organisers need to cancel plans and enable more to go ahead with confidence this summer.”

LIVE issued a statement, which said: “We also call on the Chancellor to look again at a government-backed insurance scheme, which would ensure we can recover, and get people back to work, as quickly as possible once it is safe to lift restrictions.”

Read Keep NYC’s lights on: Club owners and artists on how Covid has impacted the nightlife scene.