As reported by NME, The Music Venue Trust has released a statement in response to the British government’s latest coronavirus measures, asking them to reconsider “specific challenges” they present to grassroots venues.
Earlier today (November 23), Boris Johnson announced a new three-tiered system which will come into place once England leaves lockdown on December 2 and remain until the end of March.
Under the new system live audiences will be allowed to return to gigs, sporting events and business events in tiers 1 and 2, with the government introducing ‘spectator capacity limits’ which will vary depending on whether the event is held indoors or out.
In tier 2, however, alcohol may only be sold alongside what the government describes as “a substantial meal”.
The Music Venue Trust has issued a statement in response, urging the government to rethink the restrictions’ application to venues in tier 2.
“MVT has repeatedly detailed to HM Government that income within the grassroots sector derives 65% from wet sales and 35% from ticket sales,” the statement said.
“It is not possible to deliver an economically viable event in this sector without the financial support provided by alcohol sales. 92% of Grassroots Music Venues do not have the necessary facilities to provide substantial food.”
The MVT suggested that the issue can be averted by “correctly identifying the purchase of a ticket as having equivalent intention by the consumer to the purchase of a meal.”
“The consumption of Food and the consumption of Culture as the main purpose of an individual’s behaviour could, and should, be treated equally,” the MVT continued. The charitable organisation described the fact that someone can drink as much at a restaurant as they like prior to a gig, but not at the gig itself, as “inconsistent and illogical”.
In September, NME spoke to the Music Venue Trust’s CEO Mark Davyd about the “critical situation” grassroots venues are facing during the coronavirus lockdown.
“It’s up to us – the government may very well fail to save our venues but we as individuals can still fight for their survival.”