One of the hardest-hit industries from Covid-19 closures was the entertainment industry. Things like theatres and galleries are struggling to make ends meet, as they report a forthcoming 70% drop in reserves for millions of UK’s venues.
Suppose this warning is pushed to the back burner, and no actions are taken. In that case, economists estimate that more than one million UK citizens will be without a job, causing an increase in demand for unemployment benefits. This increase would crash a fast-depleting reserve of funds said to bailout businesses and individuals that are struggling. There is nothing in the works for event centers or anything of the sort, causing industry-wide panic in hopes for a swift solution sometime soon.
Johnson’s Wartime Bailout
With intentions of jumpstarting the economy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson put a hefty ‘wartime’ bailout into action, estimated at £350 billion. The plan claimed to put forth an aggressive approach, including talks of unlimited assistance in the works as they do ‘whatever it takes’ to pass these hard times. While this sounds like a large chunk of taxpayer money, the truth is it isn’t much when talking about business, leaving a ton left to try to make it up for air as they begin to drown from months left unable to open doors or retain even half of the business they had pre-COVID. Reading through the fine print, some ‘essential businesses’ benefitted more than others, receiving large sums of bailout money. Celsa Steel was among the first companies to receive assistance, totaling £30 million. It provides 1000 employees with steady work and brings in a booming boost to UK’s revenues that would cause chaos if it fell to the ground.
Theatres Launch ‘Red Alert’
That is where the ‘throw us a line’ movement was born, leaving employees in threat of job loss no other option than to attempt to gain some national attention. At least 1000 theatres within the UK have signed up in support for the cause, pledging to light theatres up red in support. As red lights take to the sky, they hope to showcase the symbolism that theatres and events are experiencing a ‘red alert,’ unsure of the next moves. The live entertainment industry is a bread-winning opportunity for many professionals, including those who specialize in lighting, sound, productions, and more. It goes far beyond what the public views during production time, creating a sort of invisible domino effect along the way. On top of that, the industry is known for large amounts of freelance workers, all of which rely on short-term contracts thanks to large-scale productions.
Millions of Employees Could be Left Jobless
Peter Heath, managing director of Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA), claimed that “The live events industry supply chain, essential to every single event in the UK, is set to collapse without financial support from the government completely…” With the theme of social distancing, many of the world’s theatres, pubs, and entertainment-focused businesses are struggling, unable to open doors to a large number of clients. However, the difference between these bars and pubs from the entertainment industry is that, at least, they were offered some sort of relief, wiggling out of paying taxes for one whole year. Not to say that they aren’t also feeling the heat, with many service-based businesses throwing in the towel unable to make it after months of lockdown.
As theaters get their red lighting in gear, tons of employees hope to gain at least some recognition, praying the government and the people hear their plea. Included in the plans for the final act, a boat is set to sail down the Thames are in the works, lighting up the supporting theatres as it makes its way passed them to showcase the industry’s creative methods of speaking to the public. Volunteers are also part of the plan, helping activists convey their message effectively and artfully, with the goal of making a strong and lasting impact that will catch the government’s attention.
The Future of Events
As far as the future of events, UK plans to hold off on most events until the spring of 2021, almost a year after the first wave of Covid-19. The UK was among one of the hardest hit by the virus, reaching their highest peaks in the months of April and May. This came after a late-responding government, as Johnson continually refused to take measures to lock down the economy. Now that he and his government are taking things more seriously, they’ve drastically reduced cases, left with one primary job, keep from crumbling. This, too, has come with its challenges, even more so as the entire world awaits typical flu season to come around. Talks of a second wave are swirling around, leaving businesses and governments left to take their best guess at what their next moves should be.
A Strange Wrinkle in Time
We are possibly still too early to speak about what the near future may bring. School-aged children have started back to school, which comes with its own set of risks. With schools, parents, and the government trying to balance all the things on their plates, there are sure to be a few things tossed to the side, left unnoticed and abandoned. At this time, the priority is set to getting parents back to work and getting children back to school so that parents can free up their days a bit more.
While this may make a small bump in the positive direction on the scale of economic damage, we quite possibly do not know what we will be working with towards the end of this year. No plans as of late are set in the works to get productions back up and running, leaving the industry on-edge about their futures. This is a weird time for everyone, one that is sure to bring some fantastic creations that we look back on to commemorate these times, but without funding, these ideas could be left in the dust and perhaps long forgotten once we make our way out of this strange and unknown wrinkle in time.