Venues in the U.K. are experiencing up to 40% no-shows for ticketed gigs, according to a Guardian report, which cites COVID-19 and a lack of commitment from audiences as the reason.

The report speaks to manager Graeme Stewart's contention that this behavior poses an “enormous problem.” Parklife festival co-founder Sacha Lord added that the absenteeism is occurring even with “hot, sold-out shows. Promoter Will Rolfe, meanwhile, noted the knock-on impact the phenomenon is having on venues, which are also losing out on food and drink sales while still having to cover staff costs.

Phil Hutcheon, founder and CEO of ticketing app Dice, said further harm is being inflicted by fan requests for refunds for rescheduled shows, which amounts to nearly 30% of those initially planning to attend. “Each time a show is moved, the person who bought the ticket is a lot less engaged about attending," he said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week delivered a blow to the live sector by requiring attendees to provide either a negative lateral-flow test or proof of vaccination for events with an audience of more than 500 people. It is now also a legal requirement to wear face masks indoors at public venues. According to The Telegraph, operators will be fined between £500 to £10k for noncompliance.