With rumours gathering pace that the UK government may delay the full relaxation of social distancing measures currently planned for June 21st, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has issued a warning that any such decision will be "catastrophic" for the hospitality and night-time sectors.
"Night Time economy businesses have waited patiently for their opportunity to open for 15 months," the NTIA's CEO, Michael Kill, said, adding that "many have not survived, some are on a cliff edge, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, a huge pool of talent has been swept away and left to suffer extreme financial hardship".
He continued: "We should not underestimate the importance of the 21st June to these businesses, employees, entertainers and freelancers, a day when they are given back their freedom to trade, livelihoods, careers, social well-being, and the day that the government gives culture back to the UK.
"These businesses have adapted, overcome and survived for an exceptional length of time with the bare bones of support, and have arrived at this opportunity to find that it could be taken from them. Let's not torture them by leaving them hanging on until Monday [June 14th]."
Kill says a number of businesses within the hospitality and night-time sectors have already made financial and logistical commitments to reopen from June 21st, with 54% of surveyed businesses having already ordered stock, 73% having called in staff and 60% having sold tickets. 64% of surveyed businesses have already booked entertainment for events taking place from June 21st, while 80% have financed marketing and promotional materials.
With the final decision on reopening set to be made on June 14th, the NTIA has said that it will work alongside "key partners" to challenge the government and push for further support should there be any delay to the current plans.
"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," a statement by Kill concluded.
The statement comes amid reports that a number of UK nightclubs are considering going ahead and reopening their doors from June 21st in spite of any possible delays. Theatre entrepeneur Andrew Lloyd-Webber also vowed to reopen his theatres at full capacity later in the month regardless of delays, and said that the police could arrest him for doing so if they liked.
This latest intervention from the NTIA follows a warning last month that 75% of night-time businesses in the UK are facing a bankruptcy 'cliff edge' without rent support from the government, with an end to the government's rent moratorium coming at the end of July.
Read DJ Mag's recent feature on how a return to clubs and festivals might work in a post-pandemic society here.