English events industry to face huge losses if any COVID restrictions remain: Report

England’s events industry will be devastated by huge losses if even the most minimal coronavirus restrictions remain beyond July 19, according to an internal economic impact assessment produced by the U.K. government’s Events Research Programme and seen by POLITICO’s London Playbook.

The Events Research Programme used a series of pilots to test a range of potential measures for the events industry in the fourth and final step of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pandemic reopening plan, assessing three scenarios.

In a “high-intervention” scenario, with mandatory face masks for a maximum of two hours, COVID certification (showing either vaccination or a negative test result), attendance caps and a ban on food or drinks being served, the events industry would see average turnover of just 69 percent of its 2019 level. Indoor seated venues such as theaters would only achieve 59 percent of their 2019 turnover. Indoor non-seated venues, such as nightclubs, would fare even worse at 37 percent.

“Medium-intervention” restrictions, which would see patrons obliged to wear masks for two hours, COVID certification and a ban on alcohol being served, but no attendance caps, would lead to the industry reaching an average of 78 percent of its 2019 turnover.

Even a “low-intervention” scenario, requiring patrons only to wear face masks, would still have a significant impact, with the industry as a whole reaching 82 percent of its 2019 turnover and indoor non-seated venues just 65 percent.

The findings of the Events Research Programme have not yet been published by the government.

Whitehall officials confirmed to London Playbook Tuesday night that these economic concerns, as well as improving health data, mean the government is now looking at lifting almost all measures next month. Ministers are also considering lifting all restrictions, including face masks, a government official said.

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