Live music 'at the back of queue to reopen'

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The chief executive of a live music trade body has said the industry is "at the back of the queue to re-open" once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

The comments come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out his four-step plan to release England from lockdown.

Mr Johnson said on Monday he hoped step four would see the end of all legal limits on social contact.

But Greg Parmley, chief executive of Live, said his sector "could be months behind the rest of the economy".

"The chancellor must acknowledge our extended closure in the budget and provide the economic support needed to ensure the jobs and livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of people that work in our industry exist as we come through this pandemic," he said.

The proposed step two, from no earlier than 12 April, could see the return of outdoor hospitality, including drive-in cinemas.

Step three, which would follow at least five weeks later, on 17 May at the earliest, could allow limited indoor mixing.

'Keep people safe'

That would mean cinemas, theatres and other indoor entertainment attractions could operate with social distancing.

Mark Davyd, chief executive of the Music Venue Trust, welcomed the timeline for the return of socially distanced events, but said he now hoped to see "sector-specific financial support to mitigate the damage being done to businesses and people's lives, careers and families right across the live music industry".

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Image caption,
Theatres could operate with social distancing as part of step three

Jon Morgan, director of The Theatres Trust, said it "supports the Government's cautious approach to easing lockdown restrictions".

"We want to play our part in helping keep people safe and we do not want to be in a situation where theatres reopen too early only to be forced to close again after a short period," he said.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association trade body, said: "We are pleased to hear within the Prime Minister's statement the inclusion of a timeline for night-time economy businesses, in particular some of the hardest-hit businesses, many of which have been closed since March 2020, like nightclubs, bars and casinos."

He added: "The sector urgently needs additional clarity on reopening and critical financial support from the Chancellor if we are to avoid economic and social damage that will last a generation."

Last summer, the government announced the roll out of its £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund to help tackle the crisis facing cultural organisations and heritage sites. But culture secretary Oliver Dowden admitted that the cash could not save all artists and venues.

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