he UK’s leading business bodies have slammed MPs’ decision to vote the new three-tier system in England from Wednesday, December 2, warning that it will cause three-quarters of night-time venues, including casinos, to close permanently. The new system will last until at least 2 February, 2021.
London entered Tier 2 from Tuesday midnight, as the capital joins 99 percent of England’s population in the top two levels of coronavirus restrictions. Under the fresh lockdown measures, casinos, cinemas and theatres must adhere to the new 11pm curfew, while clubs will not be allowed to reopen under any tiers. London’s pubs and restaurants will only be allowed to serve patrons if they order a “substantial meal” while household mixing will not be allowed indoors.
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which represents more than 1,200 bars, clubs, casinos and music venues across the country, said the new tier system demolished chances of a Christmas recovery for the night time sector, which “has suffered horrendously since the start of the pandemic”. “Today’s parliamentary vote on the new Covid restrictions will be the final nail in the coffin for thousands of businesses in Tier Two or Three areas,” said NTIA chief Michael Kill on Tuesday, as reported by City A.M. “Without the required financial support, 75.6 per cent of night-time economy businesses now face the reality of permanent closure. Many of these are the smaller businesses that are part of the very fabric of town and city centres and of our social lives.”
The night time economy is the UK’s fifth-biggest industry, accounting for at least eight percent of the UK’s employment and annual revenues of 66 billion pounds, according to data from the NTIA. London’s night time economy directly supports 723,000 jobs — one in eight in the capital, according to the Office for National Statistics.
In a survey of more than 400 entertainment and hospitality businesses last week, the NTIA found that almost three-quarters of businesses have made employees redundant since the start of the pandemic, with more than 60 percent having let go of at least half of their staff.
“These new restrictions, overtly targeting the hospitality sector, have no real grounding in scientific fact and leave little or no confidence in the Government making science-based policy decisions,” Kill said. “It is now abundantly clear that the night-time economy is being sacrificed so that other sectors may trade through the festive period. If the government will prevent our sector from operating sustainably then it must also proportionately compensate the sector for lost revenue, pre and post the festive period.”