The manager of Play Nightclub in Hereford has spoken to us about his concerns over the future of the nightclub trade if the government doesn’t give clarity about the reopening of clubs or offer financial assistance to support the extended closure.
Chris Green, manager of Play Hereford (Part of the Deltic Group) said:
“The late-night leisure sector, which employs tens of thousands of people across the UK, is at risk of collapse if the government does not act now. The lack of clarity around reopening and financial assistance for operators is alarming, especially as it may result in closures and widespread unemployment in the area. We need a clear reopening plan, or at the very least fit-for-purpose financial assistance, and we need it now.”
A report, coordinated by the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA), claims that closely monitored clubbing would be safer than unlicensed events where Covid-19 protocols are not in place.
“Bearing in mind the behaviour we are witnessing in unregulated environments such as beaches, parks and raves, there is a strong argument to permit clubs to reopen, albeit under strict controls flowing from government guidance and individual risk assessments informed by other sectors,” it said.
The industry warned that the growing number of illegal raves during the pandemic “put those who attend them in danger, waste precious emergency services time and contribute to regional outbreaks of Covid-19”.
Nightclub operators are “verging on insolvency”, the NTIA said, and many will not survive without some form of controlled reopening.
Peter Marks, the chief executive of Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of late-night bars and clubs, said: “The late-night leisure sector, a sector which employs tens of thousands across the UK, is at risk of collapse if the government does not act now – it is that simple.
“Despite the government’s furlough scheme continuing until the end of October, we will see the loss of a third of jobs across the sector by the end of September, the majority of which are young adults.
“We need a clear reopening plan, or at the very least fit-for-purpose financial assistance.”