The #SaveNightclubs campaign have shared an open letter sent to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him and the government to take action and help save the belegured nightclub industry during the coronavirus pandemic.
The appeal comes as the sector continues to suffer in the wake of the pandemic, with an overwhelming majority of the UK’s nightclubs having been unable to reopen since the virus outbreak closed all venues back in March.
An open letter that was sent to Johnson last week, which was organised by the #SaveNightclubs campaign and supported by a number of night-time venues across the country, urges the government to act now or permanently lose the UK’s nightclub industry and the vast economic contribution it makes to the UK.
The letter reads:
Dear Prime Minister,
We are writing to you as a group of over one hundred nightclub owners, managers and workers whose businesses have now been closed for exactly 8 months this Friday. We urge the government to act now or permanently lose the country’s nightclub industry and the enormous economic contribution it makes to the UK.
We are writing this letter on behalf of the nightclub industry, a sector who employs circa 45,000 people – 72% of whom are under 25 years old. We are a proud part of British culture and crucial to the UK economy, generating £3bn a year in income. The nightclub industry proudly employs a huge spectrum of job roles including bartenders, DJs, performers, security, cleaners and more. Behind these stats are thousands of individual stories of hardship from people who feel like they have been forgotten.
Over the last 8 months, the industry has faced Lockdown 1, household and tiered restrictions and an impossible curfew of 10pm. Now, in the midst of a second national lockdown and the announcement of the furlough scheme extension until March 2021, this is likely to result in our venues closing for an entire year. Unlike hospitality and gyms who were able to trade over the summer months, we have not been able to open at all resulting in zero revenue since March.
Venues are facing mounting rent bills, ongoing running costs and the prospect of business rates in April 2021. We urge the government to prevent a devastating tsunami of job losses, a wipeout of future economic contributions and further ruin to towns and cities across the UK which are already on their knees.
Despite the government’s on-going support to sectors such as hospitality and gyms – nightclubs are the forgotten industry. Over 70% of people working in nightclubs are self employed and therefore were not eligible for the furlough scheme. No alternative financial support package has been proposed for the nightclub industry.
Last month, #SaveNightclubs carried out a survey revealing that four in five nightclubs (81%) will be shut by Christmas unless the government urgently intervenes.
The #SaveNightclubs campaign calls on the government to:
Provide a financial survival package beyond the Recovery Fund, helping the sector weather COVID’s impact and assist in future reopening
Introduce protection from eviction for nightclubs during and immediately after the crisis
Extend business rate relief to April 2022, enabling nightclubs to get back on their feet in 2021
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this letter.
Vincenzo Sibilia and Asher Grant of #SaveNightclubs campaign group