Halifax club ATIK among those calling on the government to save late night leisure sector from collapse

Atik nightclub, HalifaxAtik nightclub, Halifax
Atik nightclub, Halifax
Halifax club ATIK is among leading night-time industry operators calling on the government to save the late night leisure sector from collapse and allow venues to reopen with Covid-secure measures in place.

A consortium of leading night-time industry operators, including ATIK in Halifax, have raised an urgent plea to the government.

With the Chancellor’s furlough scheme coming to an end in October, venues are under threat of going under with thousands of jobs lost as the sector remains the only one without a clear reopening date.

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Survey results released by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) show that 58 per cent of businesses within the night-time economy fear they will not survive longer than two months without further government support.

This would put an estimated 754,000 jobs at risk. This comes as 71 per cent of businesses surveyed are already set to make more than half of their workforce redundant in a matter of weeks.

The night-time economy is one of the few remaining sectors without any clear roadmap from government, on when, and how it can reopen.

Commenting on the survey, Michael Kill, Chief Executive of NTIA said: “These results feel like the final catastrophic blow to the night-time economy, which employs 1.3 million people in the UK and contributes £66bn to the UK economy per annum. Near enough every single business is on a dangerous cliff edge. This is the darkest of days for the night-time economy.”

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The consortium is making the case for a return to business with a report backed by the Institute of Occupational Medicine on how it can be done to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The consortium’s report says venues can be operated safely with a range of measures, including:

● ID scans upon entry

● Temperature checks upon entry

● Crowd control through the representation of licensed security personnel

● Contactless payment

● Sophisticated ventilation systems

● Large square footage venues, allowing for social distancing

● Frequent and high intensity cleaning and hygiene regimes

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The consortium, which includes the Night Time Industries Association, says the late-night sector has been largely forgotten by the government since venues were forced to close on 20 March 2020.

While pubs were given the green light to re-open on 4 July, venues such as clubs, music venues and events spaces have been left in the dark.

The majority of late-night operators have not qualified for any grants, bounceback loans, CBILS or CLBILS loans and as yet have had no help with rents.

Many are under immense pressure from landlords and banks and have prioritised the payment of fixed costs in the hope that further government support will be forthcoming.

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Peter Marks, CEO at The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of late night bars and clubs, and owner of ATIK, added: “The late night leisure sector, a sector which employs tens of thousands across the UK, is at risk of collapse if the government does not act now - it is that simple. We need a clear reopening plan, or at the very least fit-for-purpose financial assistance.”

The sector feels that without a clear plan to allow operators to reopen in a safe, risk-assessed way, it is facing financial collapse.

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