UK government criticised for “unworkable” advice on reopening music venues

"The present plan is not fit for purpose"

Proposed UK government advice on reopening music venues would actually force many to keep their doors shut, leading music industry figures have said.

According to the Telegraph, a working document from the government recommends a gap of six metres between fans and musicians, as well as a distance of three metres between individual singers on stage.

But the plans have been described as “unworkable” by the trade body UK Music, which has warned that venues will not be able to get “back into business” under the current guidelines.

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“These proposals are unworkable,” UK Music acting CEO Tom Kiehl told the Telegraph. “The size of studios, rehearsal spaces and venues means the present plan is not fit for purpose.

“Public Health England needs to work with the music industry to come up with an evidence-based solution to get music back in business.”

The proposals also state that no more than six singers should be on stage at once, while members of bands using wind and brass instruments would also have to stay three metres apart.

UK Music also predicts that the coronavirus shutdown will destroy a staggering £900 million of the estimated £1.1 billion that the UK’s live industry contributes to the economy each year.

The new guidance comes amid warnings that over 400 grassroots music venues in the UK are at imminent risk of closing for good as a consequence of the ongoing health crisis, despite a campaign from the Music Venue Trust which has saved cultural 140 spaces so far.

It has been suggested that gigs could return with sufficient social distancing measures, although the idea has been widely decried.

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Speaking to NME, Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd said: “The most important thing is that the government restrictions must be explained.

“If not, we don’t want the government telling us how to run our businesses. What we need is for them to say ‘this is what needs to be done in terms of the virus’ and we can then go back to them and tell them how to do it, how much it will cost and who can and can’t do it.”

Visit here to donate to the Save Our Venues campaign.

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