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U.K. MUSIC TRADE ORGS DEMAND CLARITY ON BANS

British trade organizations have called for clarity from the British Government over rules on mass gatherings during the coronavirus epidemic after Prime Minister Boris Johnson stopped short of issuing an outright ban. Insurers could avoid paying out on losses is there is no ban. 

Johnson announced Monday a number of measures to stop the spread of the virus. They include avoiding all unnecessary contact and travel and staying away from pubs and theatres. Pubs, clubs and theaters are expected to close voluntarily, and Johnson has said mass gatherings won't be supported by emergency workers. On Saturday, the BBC reported that a government source has said that ministers were drawing up plans for a formal ban, which could kick in as early as this weekend.

UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl said the latest advice from the Prime Minister has triggered “huge uncertainty” for the public and the industry about future events. “Public safety remains the top priority for everyone involved in the U.K. music industry during this unprecedented health emergency.

“However, the Prime Minister’s latest advice on mass gatherings has resulted in huge uncertainty and confusion over what exactly it will mean for the music industry. We need urgent clarity from Government about what exactly these new changes will mean.

“The Government must spell out whether there will be a formal ban, when that might come into effect, which venues and events will be impacted and how long the measures will remain in place."

The virus is having "a catastrophic impact on the U.K. music industry and will threaten many jobs and businesses across our right across our sector," Kiehl said. "We need swift action from the Government to mitigate the immense damage and disruption this will cause to our music industry that is the envy of the world.

“Unless music businesses and venues get help fast to get them though this desperately difficult period, the sad reality is the vital businesses and much loved venues will go to the wall."

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO Paul Reed also urged for clarity and support. “The Prime Minister’s announcement amounts to a ban on live events and while we understand the measures taken, we also urge the Government to classify it as such.

"The lack of such clarification creates widespread confusion and greatly harms promoters' efforts to weather this unprecedented storm. Our members have already spent millions of pounds in non-recoupable costs and there is no safety net. 

"We also call for immediate, decisive action to support these businesses and help minimzse the lasting effects this crisis will have on the livelihoods of those working in the independent festival sector and beyond.”

 

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