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U.K. VENUE ORG QUESTIONS NEW RESTRICTIONS
11/23/20

The Music Venue Trust has welcomed the British Government’s announcement of the end of a national lockdown, but warned that replacement restrictions concerning alcohol sales will still challenge grassroots music venues.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a three-tier system of COVID-19 restrictions today that will affect how late venues can stay open. For areas that fall under tiers one and two, the current 10pm curfew has been lifted for pubs and restaurants—under the new rules, they must stop serving at 10pm but can remain open until 11pm. For venues, this means that gigs are technically allowed to take place (under social distancing measures) but rules over the serving of alcohol create further challenges for the live sector. In areas that fall under tier two, alcohol can only be served with a meal, and in areas that fall under tier three, pubs and restaurants must remain closed, apart from takeaway or delivery.

The Music Venue Trust has urged the Government to “think again” on the issue of alcohol sales at permitted ticketed events within the new tier two proposals.

“Music Venue Trust has repeatedly detailed to the government that income within the grassroots sector derives 65% from wet sales and 35% from ticket sales,” the organization’s statement reads. “It is therefore not possible to deliver an economically viable event in this sector without the financial support provided by alcohol sales. In addition, 92% of grassroots music venues do not have the necessary facilities to provide substantial food.”

MVT is asking for alcohol rules to be relaxed alongside the purchase of a ticket. “The consumption of food and the consumption of culture as the main purpose of an individual's behavior could, and should, be treated equally. Failure to reach equivalency between food and culture on this issue results in a distorted market where an individual can choose to attend a restaurant, consuming as much alcohol as they wish prior to a gig, but upon arrival at the event cannot consume any alcohol at all. We believe therefore that common sense within the restrictions is the most likely route by which the public will understand and comply with them.”