Birmingham’s hotel sector has suffered a devastating blow by the extension of Boris Johnson’s lockdown until July 19.
June 21 had been designated as Freedom Day for the removal of all remaining restrictions.
This would have seen the reopening of the remaining closed venues, including nightclubs, and also allowed the larger theatrical performances and other live performances to take place.
All the key announcements from Boris’ latest lockdown briefing
Currently, under step 3 of the roadmap, controlled indoor events for up to 1,000 people or 50% of a site’s capacity, whichever is less, are permitted, as are outdoor events with a capacity of 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
But Boris Johnson’s latest press conference means nightclubs must remain closed and big performances still cannot take place, due to the spread of the Delta variant.
Birmingham’s Southside District BID said it would hit the city hard.
The Southside Business Improvement District contains the Hippodrome Theater, Chinatown, Snobs Nightclub, Arcadian Complex, and the Gay Village, including the Nightingale Club.
Julia Robinson, Director of Southside District BID, commented: “The delay in lifting the lockdown restrictions is another devastating blow to a severely besieged hotel sector which in many cases is on the verge of breath.
“It’s easy to assume that our city’s sights are on the rise, especially after a weekend where people enjoyed going out and meeting their friends and family, and when it can be difficult to have a table in city hot spots.
“But the reality is that with reduced capacity and companies taking only 50% of their expected sales, the industry has no hope of recouping the £ 87 billion in lost revenue.”
She added: “Many businesses in the nightlife economy, including nightclubs, were forced to remain closed throughout the day, and limited financial support ended in March.
“As the moratorium on rents ends, commercial rate payments begin again and employer holiday contributions are introduced, we can unfortunately expect this to be the last straw for many and we are calling the government to urgently confirm additional funding.
“Due to the enormous uncertainty and persistent restrictions, the hospitality industry is facing an unprecedented recruitment crisis and, coupled with the financial pressure on operators, these pressures are having a huge impact on mental health.
“Behind every struggling business are people trying to make a living and support their employees, and as BID we have great concerns that this pressure – especially for independent operators – is just too much. heavy to bear. “
Snobs nightclub on the corner of Smallsbrook Queensway and Hurst Street has said some events in its reopening program should be rescheduled.
He said events would be brought forward by four weeks and people could request a refund if the new dates were not suitable.
The Night Time Industry Association, a trade body representing nightlife venues including clubs in Birmingham and the UK, issued a statement on the latest Freedom Day delays.
Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, said: “This is an extremely devastating blow to the very industries that have been hit hardest by this pandemic; in a very real sense, the Prime Minister has ‘turned off the lights’ to a whole sector.
“Many businesses did not survive this pandemic and others are on the edge of a financial cliff, unable to operate sustainably. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been lost, a huge pool of creative talent has been wiped out and we have been left behind. suffer from extreme financial hardship.
“This delay will bring confidence in the industry to a new low, resulting in more of our workforce being forced to leave the industry, and customers, who have been denied social engagement. , attend unregulated illegal events in place of businesses that are well-operated, licensed and regulated. ”
He said the sector needed a “strong financial support package” that included additional subsidies, an exclusion of holiday dues, an extension of loan repayment holidays, commercial rates and VAT relief for workers. Next 12 months.
Mr Kill added: “Distressed industries cannot continue to be kept in limbo, with thousands of companies left behind. This delay, which again offers no details on when businesses can open, leaves many in the industry angry and frustrated, alongside other industries that have been locked down or prevented from opening through no fault of their own and at their own expense.
The Prime Minister’s lockdown delay has also been described as a “disaster” for the theater and live entertainment industry elsewhere.
In a statement, Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire of Trafalgar Entertainment said: “This delay is yet another problem of a government that would not receive a single star in a review of its performance. a West End farce. “
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They argue that the government’s own data shows that a trip to the theater is safer than going to a pub, restaurant or supermarket, and have highlighted the sector’s importance to public life.
Sir Howard and Dame Rosemary, who have two West End productions slated to start next month, added: “With the data supporting a return to live events at full capacity – and with risks dwindling now – we urge the government to act before it is too late.
“During the pandemic, this government loved three-word slogans. Hands, face, space. Rebuild better. Today, we’re asking them to consider a few more. Open our theaters. Enough is enough. . Let the audience in. “
In its roadmap documents, the government admits that the arts, entertainment and recreation sector “has been hit very hard by the pandemic.”
Before Covid, this sector was worth £ 18.3 billion in the UK, including £ 15.5 billion in England, and had 473,000 jobs (including 400,000 in England).
The arts, entertainment and recreation sector’s net income fell 46% in April 2020 during the first foreclosure, and then to 33% in November of the same year.
The sector also had strong adherence to the leave plan, with 455,000 fired at the peak in spring 2020 and 293,000 fired at the end of November 2020.