HITS Daily Double


Live-music organizations welcomed the news that the U.K. will begin the process of ending all remaining COVID restrictions later this week but warned that more support is needed to ensure the sector makes a full recovery.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new strategy to let the U.K. “live with" COVID-19 means no further need for proof of vaccination, self-quarantining or testing.

As long as parliament approves the PM's plan, the use of so-called COVID passports, which verify a negative test result or vaccination status and have been required to enter venues with a capacity of more than 500, will be scrapped 4/1 but will remain available for international travel.

Said Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, “We are calling for the extension of VAT and business-rate relief to allow businesses the financial headroom to survive. This is a sector that has sacrificed more than just about any other part of the economy, and it seems right that continued support is commensurate with the scale of hit that we took during the pandemic.”

Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE, echoed Kill's call. Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals, added an ask for a government-backed loan scheme for suppliers.

The Featured Artist Coalition, meanwhile, expressed concern for artists and workers in music who are clinically vulnerable and therefore still unable to return to live activity. The government "must do more to support those who cannot work" by extending access to COVID-crisis funding, said Coalition CEO David Martin. He deemed the retirement of free tests "completely counter-productive" to the effort to keep live music open, insisting, "Evidence of a negative test still represents the best method of ensuring that events operate safely and we would encourage their use even when not mandated." Free testing will also end on 4/1, with a few exceptions (for those aged 80 or older and the clinically vulnerable).

The legal requirement for those who’ve tested positive to self-quarantine will end on Thursday. Instead, people will be “advised” to stay at home. Self-isolation for unvaccinated adults who’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive will conclude as well.

As of 2/20, 91.4% of the U.K. population aged 12 or over has received a first dose of the vaccine and 85% a second dose, according to government data. Weekly cases are down 20.5% over the last seven days to 309,260. Deaths dropped 19.1% to 1,005.