As the nation continues to tackle the spread of COVID-19, many mass events including music gigs, football matches and large-scale festivals have been postponed to encourage social-distancing. According to a recent UK appeal, these developments have caused concern in the events and hospitality industry, with many workers worried about "how their income may be affected". More than 100,000 people have signed the petition so far – a number that's rising by the minute – calling for government support during the coronavirus pandemic.
The petition was drafted by marketing manager, Matthew Rakowski-Goreta, asking the government to "provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges".
On Facebook, he shared his concerns:
"Right now, the next six months look like troubling times for all of us. It’s likely that many businesses in the events sector will either have to significantly reduce their staff, or simply go under. If events are cancelled, we don’t have an industry, jobs or a salary."
Rakowski-Goreta believes the cancelled events "could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector". He notes that the events industry is worth more than £14 billion to the economy, with 25,000 businesses supporting over 500,000 employees.
While the UK has placed no official restraints on bars, restaurants, shopping centres and events as of yet, "mass gatherings could be banned in the UK from as early as next weekend," reports the BBC (14 March). In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon announced this week that all events with more than 500 people would be cancelled from Monday (16 March).
The petition doesn't specify how it would expect support to be provided, but it's likely this would be along the lines of the 'temporary coronavirus support' for employees, benefit claimants and businesses, detailed on the UK government website (including info on statutory sick pay and claiming Universal Credit).
Meanwhile, to help highlight growing concerns, Labour MP Tracey Brabin is creating a dossier of concerns from those working in the creative and sport industries to send to government.
On Twitter she wrote:
So what's next? As it fast exceeds the target of 100,000 signatures, the events industry petitioners are now awaiting a response from the government.
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