Boris Johnson has confirmed that the government has no plans to close pubs, venues or nightclubs after ‘Plan B’ measures were voted into law earlier this week.
COVID passports are now mandatory at gigs and in nightclubs in England, with people needing to show proof they’re fully vaccinated, or provide a negative test to gain entry.
During a press conference last night (December 15), the Prime Minister said: “We are not closing hospitality or stopping parties,” though urged the public to take caution when attending social events and emphasised the importance of regular testing.
It comes as the Omicron variant of coronavirus sweeps the country, resulting in the likes of The Charlatans, Sam Fender, Paul Weller and Coldplay all scrapping recent shows due to COVID infections.
You can’t tell people to “think carefully” before going to pubs and restaurants and then fail to provide any support for the workers/businesses affected.
The Government needs to bring forward a support package TODAY for hospitality, events, music and other affected sectors.
— Andy Burnham (@AndyBurnhamGM) December 16, 2021
However, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, has hit back at Johnson’s messaging. “You can’t tell people to ‘think carefully’ before going to pubs and restaurants and then fail to provide any support for the workers/businesses affected,” he said on social media.
“The Government needs to bring forward a support package TODAY for hospitality, events, music and other affected sectors.”
“To be clear – if support is provided to businesses, it should be on the clear condition that some is passed on to staff facing reduced income over the holiday period or being laid off (ie a furlough),” he added.
Speaking to NME, Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd said the current crisis threw venues back to “exactly where we were in March 2020“, arguing that once again “confusing government messaging had created a ‘stealth lockdown’ with venues apparently able to open but in reality haemorrhaging money at a rate that will inevitably result in permanent closures unless the government acts quickly to prevent it.”
It follows a report from the MVT that shows the entire sector is once again “at risk of permanent closure” without “immediate” government support.
Industry experts reported that up to 40 per cent of fans are not showing up to UK gigs due to worries over the Omicron variant, saying that it is “decimating the whole industry”. They’ve called for “decisive and immediate action.”