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BIZ REACTS TO END OF COVID RULES
2/22/22

 

Live music organizations welcomed news that the U.K. will begin the process of ending all remaining domestic COVID restrictions later this week, but warned that more support is needed to ensure the sector makes a full recovery.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new strategy is to let the U.K. “live” with COVID, which means no more COVID passports for venues, self-isolate requirements or free testing.

As long as parliament approves Johnson’s plan, the use of so-called COVID passports, which show proof of a negative test or vaccination status and have been a requirement to enter venues over 500 capacity, will be scrapped beginning 4/1, but still available for international travel.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said, “We are calling for the extension of VAT and business rates relief to allow businesses the financial headroom to survive,” he said. This is a sector that has sacrificed more than just about any other part of the economy, and it seems right that continued support is commensurate with the scale of hit that we took during the pandemic.”

Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE, echoed Kill's call and Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals, added an ask for a Government-backed loan scheme for suppliers.

The Featured Artist Coalition expressed concern for artists and workers in music who are clinically vulnerable and therefore still unable to return to live activity.

The Government "must do more to support those who cannot work" by extending access to Covid crisis funding, Coalation CEO David Martin said. He also called the scrapping of free tests "completely counter-productive" in the efforts to keep live music open. "Evidence of a negative test still represents the best method of ensuring events operate safely and we would encourage their use even when not mandated."

The legal requirement for those who’ve tested positive to self-isolate will end on Thursday. Instead, people will be “advised” to stay at home. Non-vaccinated adults who’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive will also end.

Free testing will end on 4/1, when most people in England will need to pay for tests, with a few exceptions (which are expected to cover those aged 80 or above and the clinically vulnerable).

In the U.K., 91.4% of the population aged over 12 has received a first dose of the vaccine and 85% a second dose, as of 2/20, according to Government data. Weekly cases are down 20.5% over the last seven days to 309,260. During the same time period, deaths also dropped 19.1% to 1,005.