New research has reportedly revealed that many nightclubs will be on a financial cliff-edge if the UK Government delays the total relaxing of coronavirus restrictions on June 21.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will deliver a statement at 6PM this evening (June 14) where it is expected that the date of what some have been referring to as “freedom day” on June 21 will be postponed to allow for more vaccinations in light of the spread of new COVID variants.
However, night time bosses have warned that they face financial ruin if appropriate financial assistance is not provided to accommodate for the delay in opening their doors once more.
According to a new flash survey of 300 businesses conducted by the Night Times Industries Association (NTIA), 1 in 4 will not survive longer than one month without further government support and 50 per cent no longer than two months.
54 per cent of businesses have spent over £15K in preparation for reopening on June 21 already, while 17.8 percent have spent over £40K.
As for losses, 1 in 5 businesses estimate that they will lose over £40K per week in revenue while restricted from trading or from being closed due to the delay in the June 21 easing of lockdown. A further 58 per cent of businesses estimate that they will lose over £10K per week in revenue.
Delays could also affect staffing too, with 33 per cent of businesses estimating they will lose over 30 per cent of their workforce due to this latest lockdown delay.
The NTIA is now calling on the government to extended existing loan payment holidays, as well as rent moratoriums that have frozen significant rents that businesses would have been otherwise expected to pay throughout lockdowns.
Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, 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 financial cliff edge, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, a huge pool of talent has been swept away and others have been left to suffer extreme financial hardship.
“We should not underestimate the importance of the 21st June to these businesses, employees, entertainers and freelancers, a day when they should be given back there opportunity to trade, regain their livelihoods, careers, social well being and the day that the Government is due to give culture back to the UK.”
He added: “Many of these businesses and individuals have adapted, overcome and survived for an exceptional length of time with the bare bones of support, and have arrived at this opportunity to find that it could be ripped away from them.”
“Any delay will drive confidence in the sector to a new low, culminating in workforce leaving the sector, and customers who are starved of social engagement, attending illegal unregulated events in place of businesses that are well operated, licensed and regulated.”
Calling for support from the government, he said: “These businesses are overburdened with debt, so any decision to delay will make them heavily reliant on the Government to extend financial support and relief, including additional restriction grants, exclusion from furlough contributions, extension of loan repayment holiday for CBILS/BBS as well as business rates and VAT relief for the next 12 months, not forgetting the £2.6 Billion in commercial rent debt left unresolved.
“The Government must understand the human impact of this decision, not only considering the public health challenges of the virus but also the people within our sector who are suffering terribly and the real health risks that this represents, given the overwhelming confidence in the vaccination rollout, and the ability for the sector to deliver Covid safe environments.
“Distressed industries cannot continue to be held in limbo, as businesses are left to fall, any decision to delay without clarity on when they can open will leave us no other option but to challenge the Government, standing alongside many other industries who have been locked down or restricted from opening for an extreme length of time, through no fault of their own, and at their own cost.”
Similarly stark warnings have also come from the Music Venue Trust, who claimed last Friday (June 11) that venues could see “mass evictions” if the potential June 21 re-opening delay is not met with funding and support.
Last week also saw the NTIA argue that “the industry has spent millions in preparation for June 21, and 95 per cent of businesses have already made financial commitments and logistical preparations to reopen”.
This comes with the prediction that 75 per cent of UK clubs still face eviction without an urgent solution for those who have been unable to pay rent through the pandemic.