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Social distancing in UK clubs “financially unviable”, new survey states

Social distancing in UK clubs “financially unviable”, new survey states

130 clubs, bars and venues responded to a survey by the Night Time Industries Association

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Responses to a new survey by the Night Time Industries Association indicate that many UK clubs, bars and music venues are wary of reopening while social distancing measures will be required.

130 UK businesses responded to the survey, answering questions surrounding the challenges they have faced while under lockdown, and concerns about reopening with social distancing measures as lockdown is eased.

According to the survey, uncertainty surrounding government financial support and a lack of clear guidance with regards social distancing and PPE “has left the industry in an untenable position”. The majority of businesses expect only to operate at 40-43% capacity once lockdown is lifted. 63.8% of respondents believed that, without additional financial support from the government post-lockdown, their businesses would not be financially viable. 

The survey states that the average cost of reopening a businesses post-lockdown will be £31,131, with the mean cost of reopening a club being close to double that at £61,545. 

Businesses have expressed concern that even when allowed to reopen, doing so with the necessary reduced capacity for social distancing will ultimately be “financially unviable”. 

“They need to realise we cannot open partially whilst still paying all our bills,” wrote one respondent to the survey. “Electricity for 10 people [is] the same as 100. Atmosphere in pubs will be damaged and will do more harm than good.”

The results of the survey also state that businesses with a model built on “social engagement” are unsure about how they will work under new restrictions.

“Social distancing is incompatible with businesses selling social interaction,” another respondent to the survey said. “You do not go to a bar to get drunk. You go to a bar to socially interact with people. Asking hospitality businesses to practice social distancing is a bit like trying to sell someone a car they cannot drive.”

The majority of respondents believe that, once it is safe to lift lockdown, the government has a responsibility to reverse the narrative to ensure people can feel safe within their spaces. 

You can see the full report from the survey here.

In April, the UK’s Music Venue Trust launched the #saveourvenues campaign to raise funds and highlight the challenges faced by small music venues and clubs amid the coronavirus lockdown. Within a week of launching, the campaign received over £1 million in donations.