The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has vowed to challenge the UK government if the remaining coronavirus restrictions are not lifted on the provisional date of June 21.
The government will announce their decision on Monday (June 14), but it is feared that raising coronavirus cases and new variants could cause a delay to England’s so-called “freedom day”.
The NTIA now say they will pursue legal action if night time economy venues – many of which have been shuttered for over 15 months – do not reopen on June 21.
Michael Kill, the NTIA CEO, said: “Night time economy businesses have waited patiently for there opportunity to open for over 15 months, 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 added: “We should not underestimate the importance of the June 21 to these businesses, employees, entertainers and freelancers, a day when they are given back there freedom to trade, livelihoods, careers, social well being and the day that the Government gives culture back to the UK.”
Opening up on the dire straits faced by businesses over the last 15 months, Kill said: “These businesses and individuals 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.”
He added: “It is clear from a recent flash poll of members that businesses are vulnerable, with 9 in 10 businesses feeling this will have a critical impact on their survival. The industry has spent millions in preparation for June 21, 95 per cent of businesses have already made financial commitments and logistical preparations to reopen.”
Kill also warned that more illegal, unregulated events could take place if the June 21 deadline is not met.
“We will see many more illegal unregulated events take the place of businesses that are licensed and regulated across the country as people express their frustration,” he said.
“The culmination of young people who have been starved of social engagement and culture will have a lasting effect, and must be considered in the strongest terms alongside the overwhelming success of the vaccination rollout and the current low levels of mortality, hospitalisation and infection.”
Last month, the NTIA doubled down on its fears about the growing rent crisis facing the UK’s nightclubs as a direct result of the pandemic.
The NTIA also recently warned that nightclub openings could also be hampered by a lack of door staff at nightlife venues next month.