The U.K. live-music industry has described the government’s decision to delay lifting final COVID-19 restrictions for four weeks as a “hammer blow” to the sector. Trade bodies are urgently calling for emergency support.

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson postponing the U.K.’s reopening to 7/19, more than 5,000 shows are set to be canceled and, without insurance, the summer’s festival season could collapse, costing the sector more than £500m, according to trade body LIVE. The Music Venue Trust says the delay will result in tens of thousands of people remaining out of work longer than necessary and venues losing £36m.

Both LIVE and MVT are calling for the government to provide urgent financial support to those impacted by the decision. LIVE CEO Greg Parmley pointed out that there are still “hundreds of millions of pounds” from the Cultural Recovery Fund yet to be allocated. “This money needs to get into the industry without any more delay,” he added.

The Association of Independent Festivals said that although 90% of remaining events with capacity of more than 5,000 are scheduled to take place when restrictions finally do lift, they can’t continue to plan without government-backed insurance.

In the event that reopening plans gets pushed back again and festivals can’t take place this summer, or have to operate with limited capacity, some events will face insolvency within weeks, and 34% would need to make redundancies of 75% or more, according to the results of an AIF survey.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said, "Any measures that prevent festivals from operating fully have to be counterbalanced with effective support to ensure businesses can survive.”

Music Venue Trust issued a six-point plan for the government to manage the impact of extended restrictions on grassroots music venues.

The request is for: extending the moratorium on commercial eviction; canceling the introduction of business rates and extending 100% rate relief until 3/31/22; extending Bounce Back Loans and the CBIL interest- and payment-free period until 9/30; exploring the Australian model of rent-debt settlement, which has brokered a government-supported division of rent debt; immediately releasing the £300m held for Culture Recovery Fund 3 through a rapid distribution process that addresses the immediate threat of the permanent closure of grassroots music venues; and working with local authorities to release undistributed Restart Grant money, currently £1.6b, to cultural premises, including grassroots music venues, without delay to address the challenges of the delay to reopening.