Music Venue Trust responds to new coronavirus curfew restrictions

It comes after PM Boris Johnson announced a 10pm curfew for a range of hospitality and leisure sectors

Music Venue Trust (MVT) has issued a statement in response to new coronavirus restrictions that were introduced earlier today (September 22).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today that a spike in COVID-19 infections has prompted a new set of lockdown restrictions in England, including a 10pm curfew on a number of hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses, as well as enforced table service across all pubs and restaurants.

The new measures also saw Johnson urge people to work from home where possible again, and warned that the new changes could remain in place for “six months.”

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Confirming today’s announcements on Twitter, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden specified that the 10pm curfew would apply across “a range of hospitality and leisure sectors including casinos,” but that “it would not apply to theatres and cinemas where performances may run over the 10pm deadline.”

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson introduced new coronavirus restrictions today. CREDIT: Stefan Rousseau- WPA Pool/Getty Images

It’s the first new set of rules to be rolled out in England since early September, when gatherings of groups of more than six people were banned in the country.

Responding to the new restrictions, Music Venue Trust have issued an “Official non-statement statement.”

“A number of you have asked why Music Venue Trust has not made any statement on the announcement of a 10pm curfew for night-time economy spaces from Thursday 23rd September,” the charity organisation began their statement.

“MVT had, in fact, written a statement highlighting a number of concerns surrounding this announcement, requesting specifically that HM Government should clarify how this curfew addresses the aim of limiting the spread of the infection.

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“Having completed the draft of that statement, but prior to public issuing it, we received the following clarification from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a statement which we note the Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden, has also now tweeted.”

OFFICIAL NON-STATEMENT STATEMENT: The 10PM Curfew – Why Music Venue Trust has not made an official statementA number…

Posted by Music Venue Trust on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

MVT then shared the statement made by the DCMS, before continuing their own.

“Based on this statement from DCMS, MVT cannot therefore officially comment on the impact of these new restrictions since it is not clear how grassroots music venues will be affected.

“We assume that if the government believes that seated audiences enjoying a cultural event should be permitted to do so until the completion of that event, then that belief will obviously extend equally to the enjoyment of rap performance as it does to a classical music piece. We assume, based on this position from DCMS, that audiences that are enjoying the theatrics of Muse, for example, are as entitled to watch those theatrics conclude as an audience enjoying a west end play.”

The statement continued: “Irrespective of the clarification this requires from DCMS, MVT, and the grassroots music venue sector, are fully committed to playing a front line role in the protection of Public Health. Our sector places the health and well-being of our communities at the very core of what we do.

“We are proud to state that no grassroots music venue has, to date, been established to be the site of an incident of the transmission of Covid 19, a fact illustrated clearly in the government’s latest analysis of the spread of infection. This is a testament to the very strenuous measures taken by the sector to create Covid Secure Venues.

Independent Venue Week
“Businesses impacted by this decision must have the full furlough scheme extended immediately” – Music Venue Trust. CREDIT: Visionhaus/Gary Prior

“Broader than our own specific sector, the same government report detailing the very concerning spread of the infection does not seem to demonstrate a causal link between the rise in infection, which we feel is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, and the use of night time economy spaces after 10pm.”

MVT also demanded that the furlough scheme for members of the live music and theatre industries, which is set to come to an end next month, be extended for those impacted by the new restrictions.

“Businesses impacted by this decision must have the full furlough scheme extended immediately, and a financial support package must be created and provided to ensure such businesses survive this crisis,” they wrote.

Read MVT’s full statement above.

In other coronavirus news, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged a £450,000 emergency fund to help London grassroots music venues “devastated” by the impact of the pandemic.

“London’s world-leading music venues have been devastated by the impact of COVID-19,” Khan said in a statement. “That’s why I’m giving £450,000 to support 141 grassroots venues across our city, tailored to their unique needs, such as rent disputes, local council discussions, or direct financial aid.”

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