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Social distancing key issue as UK working group meets

As a UK events and entertainment working group prepares to meet, industry orgs express doubts around the feasibility of social distancing at venues

By IQ on 27 May 2020

Social distancing key issue as UK events working group meets

London's Southbank Centre has warned it will have to close until April 2021 without more support


image © India Roper-Evans

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) is the latest industry association to raise concerns over the impact of social distancing on the events industry, ahead of the first meeting of a newly formed UK events and entertainment working group tomorrow (28 May).

The working group, part of a series of sectoral subgroups convened by the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) about recreation and leisure, is comprised of industry organisations including the NTIA, the Concert Promoters Association (CPA), the National Arenas Association (NAA) and the Music Venue Trust (MVT).

The group will be tasked with developing guidance for the sector and acting as a conduit between industry and ministers.

The NTIA’s particular concern is around the financial viability of venues reopening under strict social distancing measures. The organisation calls for a “more pragmatic approach” that would allow businesses to generate their own guidelines for reopening and mitigate risk on a case by case basis.

The group will be tasked with developing guidance for the sector and acting as a conduit between industry and ministers

The statement comes as the Southbank Centre, a multi-venue arts and cultural centre in London, warns that it will be forced to close until April 2021 without further government support.

The centre forecasts a best-case scenario of facing losses of £5.1 million by the end of the 2020/2021 financial year.

The viability of socially distanced shows divided panellists on the recent IQ Focus The Venue’s Venue: Building Back panel. Lucy Noble, chair of the NAA and director of the Royal Albert Hall said that social distancing was not part of the plan for reopening, with measures such as temperature checks, contact tracings and disinfectant misting more likely to be employed.

“We are suggesting to the [UK government] how we can operate,” said Noble. “If they are not giving us clarity, then we need to give them clarity.”

 


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