Music Venue Trust, a U.K. charitable organization aimed at protecting music venues, estimates that 40% of ticket holders aren’t attending music events.
This rise in non-attendance comes amidst concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd called on the U.K. government to help, saying “Decisive and immediate action is needed to address this situation. That action must include the immediate cancellation of the VAT rise and the suspension of business rates.”
VAT, or value added tax, is a tax paid on goods and services in the U.K., while business rates are taxes paid on non-domestic property. To help struggling venues, VAT rates on tickets were reduced to 5% back in July of 2020.
Professionals attribute the decline in attendance to the U.K. government enacting “plan B” measures for dealing with the pandemic. Among those measures are mask mandates for most indoor spaces, guidance to work from home, and a requirement of NHS-issues COVID-19 passes for entry into nightclubs.
The announcement of these new restrictions came Wednesday, December 8th. They will be reviewed again in early January according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
As of December 14th, there have been 59,077 new COVID-19 cases reported with a seven-day average of 53,172 cases. 76.3% of UK citizens have at least one vaccine shot while 69.9% are fully vaccinated.