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Mon 24th Aug 2020 - Night-time operators present government with science-backed reopening plan
Night-time operators present government with science-backed reopening plan: A consortium of leading night-time operators, including the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), has called on the government to save the UK’s late-night sector from collapse, as the furlough scheme comes to an end in October with no plans to mandate reopening of venues or pledge further financial support. The late-night sector, which comprises nightclubs, late-night bars, music venues and events spaces, still does not have a clear reopening plan from government. The majority of late-night operators have not qualified for any grants or loans and as yet have had no help with rent. Many are under immense pressure from landlords and banks, and have prioritised the payment of fixed costs in the hope further government support will be forthcoming. New research from the NTIA showed 57.6% of night-time venues will not survive longer than two months without further government support; and 73% of night-time operators will be making more than half their workforce redundant from September. A further 82.9% will be making people redundant following the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In response, the consortium has launched a report, supported by the Institute of Occupational Medicine, which examines the science behind covid-19 and how to mitigate the spread of the virus. It calls on the government to allow for the reopening of clubs across the UK, and provides a clear roadmap for late-night venues to do so safely and within government guidelines. The report found venues have more mitigation control measures than retail, most pubs, restaurants, households and illegal raves. People tend to turn up for an optimum period that is typically two hours and as such the capacity at any one time is well within the total capacity of the venue. Overall capacity restrictions to 75% of legal building occupancy based on regulations will ensure distancing is possible throughout the venue. The report highlighted the safe operation of these venues can be assured by implementing a range of mitigating measures, many of which were already in place, including ID scans and temperature checks upon entry and frequent and high intensity cleaning and hygiene regimes. NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “We implore the government to give us the opportunity to reopen in a safe, risk-assessed way. Doing so will protect thousands of jobs, contribute to the struggling UK economy and ensure our towns and cities remain economically healthy and culturally vibrant.” Peter Marks, chief executive of The Deltic Group, added: “The late-night leisure sector, a sector which employs tens of thousands of people across the UK, is at risk of collapse if the government does not act now – it is that simple. Despite the furlough scheme continuing until the end of October, the lack of clarity from the government around reopening and financial assistance for operators is alarming to say the least, especially as it is inevitably resulting in closures and widespread unemployment. We need a clear reopening plan, or at the very least fit-for-purpose financial assistance.” 

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