In an effort to combat the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.K., the local government has announced a new tiered system of restrictions. Music Venue Trust, a charity organization in the U.K. dedicated to protecting the country’s music venues, condemned aspects of the restrictions and explained how they would be detrimental to the industry.
In the new plan shared by The Guardian, there are three tiers ranging from medium to very high alert that will be assigned to different regions. The first tier is more permissive while the third tier imposes tighter restrictions.
In tiers one and two, venues will be allowed to host both indoor and outdoor events but capacity will be limited and social distancing must be practiced. While the Music Venue Trust is grateful that venues will be able to bring music to their communities once again, they state that the tiered system’s policy on alcohol sales is problematic. The system states that alcohol sales will only be permitted if they are served with “a substantial meal.”
In a statement shared on the charity’s website, they explain how an overwhelming majority of venues will not survive without alcohol sales considering the percentage of revenue it brings in. Some have also brought to light the fact that not every venue is equipped with a kitchen and that the system doesn’t acknowledge that many concertgoers would not consume a full meal at a show even if it was readily available.
“[Music Venue Trust] has repeatedly detailed to HM Government that income within the grassroots sector derives 65% from wet sales and 35% from ticket sales,” reads a passage of the statement. “It is not possible to deliver an economically viable event in this sector without the financial support provided by alcohol sales. 92% of grassroots music venues do not have the necessary facilities to provide substantial food.”
They go on to question why the same patrons who are allowed to drink to their heart’s content at a restaurant would be barred from consuming alcohol at an event afterward. The statement closes out by dubbing the alcohol policy an “inconsistent and illogical approach,” calling on the government to reconsider their system.