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Looking to Reopen on a Larger Scale, a Lobbying Update

Our Head of Communications & Government Relations Isabelle Gutierrez discusses how the MU is backing Government explorations into lessening social distancing for the live sector, and a moonshot audience-testing plan.

Published: 17 September 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
Photograph of an audience, sat looking over on to a stage.
The UK Government is focused on ways to reopen live venues on a larger scale and get musicians and other performers, creators and crew back to work.

The live sector remains largely dormant while social distancing measures remain in place. However, the UK Government is focused on ways to reopen live venues on a larger scale and get musicians and other performers, creators and crew back to work.

Ideas being explored at the present time, which the MU is backing, include:

  • Exploring lessening social distancing for live sector to make it economically viable. It has been discussed that social distancing could be dropped to 0.5m in time, which would enable greater audience capacities. However, this relies on numbers of Coronavirus cases decreasing which is not what's happening at present. The UK Government would like to reach Stage 5 of its Roadmap by the end of the year but this is not looking very likely at present so other options must be explored.
  • A moonshot audience-testing plan (led by number 10) is being developed but this is unlikely to be a solution for the whole industry before Christmas. It may work for some events and will be trialled shortly.

A Government backed insurance scheme for live events is being explored as the lack of insurance to cover Covid-19 related closures is a problem for promoters, venues and theatre producers. The MU is looking at whether such a scheme would cover musicians' losses from cancelled events and further advice is coming for members on this in due course.

The cultural recovery fund is aimed at helping venues and organisations until March next year. We are lobbying hard for sector specific support for freelancers and for the furlough scheme to be extended until at least the end of the year.

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