The Music Venue Trust's Mark Dayvd has reacted scathingly to yesterday's announcement by the government delaying the further loosening of restrictions on social distancing in England by a month.
''The announcement of a delay to the reopening at full capacity of grassroots music venues is obviously a crippling blow to the sector,'' he says. ''Over 4000 shows will be cancelled, losing tens of thousands of people, many of them unable to earn for over 15 months, the chance to get back to work. Huge amounts of work will need to go into rescheduling, cancellations, rebooking, refunds and managing customers, staff and artists. The delay will cost the sector £36 million, adding to the mounting pile of debt which this crisis has created.''
''We note that live music events were a unique focus of the government funded and led Events Research Programme. The evidence from the test events that took place during it have not been released. The government should immediately release that data and demonstrate how these test events indicated that live music is a unique contributing factor to the spread of the virus which cannot be managed in any other way than to effectively ban it. If, as we believe, the data does not provide that causality link, the government must explain on what basis it is making decisions on restrictions of live music.
''The continued restrictions to culture are a serious blow to the grassroots music venue sector, with potential damage to hundreds of businesses, thousands of staff and tens of thousands of workers. The government should immediately recognise the risk of serious harm being done to people's lives, business, jobs and livelihoods and respond with swift, decisive action. The clock is ticking. Don't fail now.''
Grassroots venue Servant Jazz Quarters in east London, top. Photo: marlbank