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Many venues remain closed under new England tier system

Hundreds of venues in England will be forced remain closed when the current lockdown ends on 2 December, the UK government announced today (26 November).

The lockdown is being replaced by a tiered system, in which the regions of England are placed into either tiers one, two or three.

Under tier three – the strictest measures – all indoor entertainment venues must close, according to the BBC. Areas in tier three include vast swathes or the north-east, north-west, Yorkshire and the Humber, the south-west and the East and West Midlands, as well parts of Kent and the south-east.

Tier two, which comprises the majority of the rest of England, prohibits socialising indoors with anyone outside one’s household, allowing only for limited outdoor gatherings. Pubs, meanwhile, may only reopen if they serve food with alcohol.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, says the announcement “of regional tier levels by health secretary Matt Hancock has brought about a stark reality to the night-time economy and hospitality businesses, diminishing hopes of trading through the key festive period for many, with a long winter ahead fighting to survive.

“We are bearing the burden so that other sectors are able to open during the festive period”

“[It is] devastating news, particularly for the Midlands and north of England, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle, which have been hardest hit with the implementation of tier three, with the majority of regions being placed in tier two and very limited areas in tier one.

“Industry and business leaders are speaking up, highlighting the immense impact of restrictions to their sector, individual companies releasing huge redundancy figures, business owners suffering from mental health, and suicide rates within the sector steadily increasing.”

He adds “The government must compensate these businesses for the period of time they have been closed, and the loss of business suffered due to restrictions through the festive period. The sector has suffered horrendously since the start of the pandemic and is bearing the burden so that other sectors are able to open during the festive period.”

Society of London Theatre (Solt) chief executive Julian Bird says the announcement was “a relief for theatres in tier one and two areas, including London’s West End, but equally devastating for tier three theatres yet again forced to postpone or cancel shows – especially pantos, usually an annual highlight for families and a vital source of income for theatres around the country.

“This risks the survival of many venues and leaves thousands of theatre professionals struggling over the Christmas period, particularly freelancers who cannot rely on government support.”

 


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