It has been revealed that despite new coronavirus restrictions, music venues in England are able to stay open after the new 10pm curfew providing that the performance has already started. However, the bar will still have to close at 10pm to stay in line with the new restrictions.
It was announced earlier this week that the new rules could last up to six months which will see pubs and restaurants in the UK would have to be closed by in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While it was confirmed that theatres and cinemas would be exempt from these restrictions, there was some confusion as to how this might impact music venues but it has now been confirmed that music venues will also escape the curfew.
A government Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport spokesperson told NME that “dedicated music venues may conclude after the 10 pm curfew as long as a performance starts before 10 pm, however outlets, including bars, must be closed by this point.”
Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd responded positively to the government’s news, telling NME: “We are pleased to confirm that the majority of grassroots music venues are included in the performance spaces that are able to permit artists to conclude their performances post the 10pm curfew announced yesterday.
“Please respect all the measures introduced by your local grassroots music venue to ensure that your gigging experience is taking place in a COVID Secure Venue….. and enjoy the show!”
However, the negative impact that the early closure could still have on music venues could have a catastrophic effect on the industry on a whole, especially as two-thirds of the UK’s grassroots music venues are unable to go ahead with socially-distanced gigs, which has put their future at risk.
Recently, a study emerged from the Musicians’ Union, a collective who are calling on the UK government to provide greater assistance to those affected within the industry. The new research states that 34% of musicians are considering abandoning the industry due to losses made during the pandemic, while nearly half of its members already being forced to seek alternative work and 70% are currently doing less than a quarter of their regular work.
The report then goes on to state that a staggering 87% of musicians believe they will financially struggle once Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme ends next month. The opinion on the government’s handling of the situation makes bleak reading for Sunak with 88% believing that the UK government hasn’t done enough to support the music industry through the pandemic.