The global health crisis has left nightlife professionals in the U.K. with no shortage of heartbreaking quandaries in 2020. Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill warned in July that insufficient COVID-19 aid left clubs to “slip through the cracks.” With a fall resurgence of the virus forcing lawmakers to reimpose strict guidelines, the organization is now sounding the alarms that the “extinction” of many establishments is imminent.
“Pre COVID-19 there were over 1,400 Nightclubs across the U.K., but these numbers are reducing daily,” reads an NTIA statement. “Without a roadmap for reopening and with growing financial pressures from dwindling cash reserves, commercial rent and loan debt, many are being forced to close the doors and hand the keys back.”
The organization also argued that clubs have been “systematically extinguished,” and that the U.K. government’s failure to acknowledge the nightlife sector’s plight is a “tragedy for U.K. culture.”
“We are on the cusp of losing a cultural institution, the government has ignored the sector and failed to recognize its economic and cultural value,” said Kill in a separate statement. “We are a world leader in electronic music and U.K. clubs have been a breeding ground for contemporary music talent events and DJS’s for decades. Nightclubs have made a huge contribution to our culture sector and are renowned globally.”
Outside of campaigning for increased aid, nightlife professionals are also fighting coronavirus restrictions that they consider to be unjust. The owners of G-A-Y Manchester have a judicial hearing set for December 3rd to remove bar and nightclub curfews from the government’s three-tiered system of guidelines, which is set to go back into effect after the current emergency lockdown is lifted. Greater Manchester Night Time Economy Advisor Sacha Lord has shared plans to pursue legal action as well.
Citizens of other countries are also pushing back against guidances recently put in place to manage the spread of the virus. In Berlin, for instance, a Tuesday demonstration in front of the Brandenburg Gate prompted officials to shoot water cannons into crowds in hopes of dispersing the largely unmasked and tightly packed protesters.
A COVID-19 vaccine candidate by Pfizer and BioNTech – as well as another by Moderna – gives business owners in nightlife and beyond hope for a gradual return to normalcy in 2021. In the meantime, Music Venue Trust has expanded on their #SaveOurVenues campaign with a “Red List” designed to funnel donations to the U.K. establishments at highest risk of closure.