One fifth of nightlife businesses could lose their entire workforce without urgent Government support following new Covid restrictions and Omicron uncertainty, according to an NTIA survey of more than 500 nightclubs, bars, pubs and hospitality venues.
The UK-wide study, conducted over the weekend of 18-19 December, also found, on average, night-time economy venues have lost £46,000 per unit in lost sales and cancellations during the festive period so far, more than half of businesses required to introduce Covid certification for entry to their premises report have seen more than a 40% drop in footfall and half of all businesses in the night-time economy will have to cut more than half of jobs in their workforce if the Government does not provide appropriate financial support.
The NTIA, alongside other trade bodies and industry leaders, are demanding action from the Chancellor to step in and acknowledge the scale of the challenges facing businesses and operators as a result of the new variant, hindering both consumer confidence, wrecking supply chains and bringing costly new restrictions to venues across the UK.
NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “It really is a chilling prospect to see so many venues in our sector left to bleed, with a lockdown in everything but name and absolutely no recognition of this from the Government.
“These venues have faced more than 20 months of financial hardship and the Christmas trade period was integral to keeping those surviving businesses afloat in the upcoming year.”
Kill continued: “If further restrictions are to be implemented, the Chancellor must step in and recognise the huge damage that waves of cancellations, driven by mixed Government messaging, resource intensive Covid protocols and costly restrictions actually have.
“The Government has had 20 months to learn how our sector operates; it is beggars belief we stand here again, as if back in March 2020, imploring the Government to listen to us, to understand how businesses work and to realise that inaction is a death sentence for our industry. It really is a cataclysmic Christmas.”
Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, added: “While shocking and upsetting, these latest stats don’t come as much surprise. The industry has been unanimously calling on the Chancellor for both support and leadership. To date, our calls have fallen on deaf ears and for some, it is already too late. If the UK’s fifth biggest industry has any hope of survival, he must come forward, urgently.”