The threat of a delay to the return of live events this month has been described as “catastrophic” and could result in legal challenges.
The government is expected to announce on June 14 whether venues will be able to fully reopen on June 21 – a date billed as “freedom day” in the media.
The date was outlined in the roadmap for restrictions lifting. But there is speculation that it will now be pushed back until the spread of Covid and the Delta variant is under control.
While the government’s Events Research Programme, including a test event without social distancing at the BRITs, has been encouraging for the live sector, there are now fears that planning for the return of events will have to be postponed.
At present, some venues are able to operate with reduced capacities and social distancing, though it is economically unviable for many events.
“We must be open on June 21, these businesses cannot wait one more week, they deserve this opportunity, given their continual commitment to the Government's public health strategy,” said Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill.
“The decision to delay will leave us no other option but to challenge the government aggressively, standing alongside many other industries who have been locked down or restricted from opening.”
We must be open on June 21, these businesses cannot wait one more week
Andrew Lloyd-Webber has said that he’s prepared to risk arrest by opening his theatres this month. A West End production of Lloyd-Webber’s Cindarella is set for previews on June 25.
“We are going to open come hell or high water,” Lord Lloyd-Webber told The Telegraph.
"If the government ignore their own science, we have the mother of all legal cases against them," he added. "If Cinderella couldn't open we'd go, 'look, either we go to law about it or you'll have to compensate us."'
DCMS Committee chair Julian Knight MP said: “It is very frustrating for the live events industry as we can see from Lord Lloyd-Webber’s comments though clearly I wouldn’t support anyone breaking the law.
“With the June 21 reopening on a knife edge the government needs to be absolutely upfront about the results of its pilot events and how they feed into decision-making.”
There are also concerns about the festival sector this summer, following the government's decision not to back an insurance scheme for events.