On June 14th, the U.K. government is expected to reveal whether they will move forward with plans to lift restrictions on gatherings on the 21st. Following rumors that the latter date could be “delayed by a fortnight,” the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has announced that it will legally “challenge” lawmakers in the event that the timeline is pushed back.
“Night time economy businesses have waited patiently for their opportunity to open for 15 months,” said NTIA CEO Michael Kill in a statement. “Many have not survived, some are on a cliff edge, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, a huge pool of talent has been swept away and left to suffer extreme financial hardship.”
Kill wrote that surveys of NTIA member businesses suggested that 54% of establishments have already ordered stock ahead of the previously expected June 21st reopening, with 73% having scheduled staff and 60% having sold tickets. Additionally, 64% had booked performing artists and 80% had spent money on marketing campaigns.
“We should not underestimate the importance of June 21st to these businesses, employees, entertainers and freelancers, a day when they are given back their freedom to trade, livelihoods, careers, social well-being, and the day that the government gives culture back to the U.K.,” Kill wrote. “These businesses have adapted, overcome and survived for an exceptional length of time with the bare bones of support, and have arrived at this opportunity to find that it could be taken from them. Let’s not torture them by leaving them hanging on until Monday [June 14th].”
Kill adopted a more urgent tone in later passages, warning that the NTIA would enlist “key partners” to push back against the U.K. government if necessary. “The decision to delay will leave us no other option but to challenge the government aggressively, standing alongside many other industries who have been locked down or restricted from opening,” his statement closed out.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced in February that restrictions may be able to lift on June 21st as part of a four-step reopening timeline. According to ITV, however, an unnamed government advisor said in May the chances of reopening by then were “close to nil.” Then last week, The Times cited health officials Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance as claiming that a delay of two weeks to a month could help ensure U.K. inhabitants over 50 could get vaccinated.
BBC reports that so far 41 million (78% of the U.K. population) have received their first dose of the vaccine, with more than 29 million having received their second.