With the Omicron variant causing a surge in cases of Covid-19 across the UK, many in the creative sector are once again facing immense financial challenges. The government’s advice to reduce social contact has triggered a significant drop in both ticket sales and visitor numbers for those businesses reliant on audiences and footfall, including performing arts venues as well as museums and galleries. The 27% no show rate reported by LIVE for events in recent days is matched by a 27% decrease in average gross income for venues last week, as reported by the Music Venue Trust. In addition to this, high isolation rates among staff and performers have led to the cancellation of many live shows and events, from the West End to local arts centres in every corner of the UK.
At a time of year when venues should be full to the rafters and experiencing a much-needed boost to their finances, many are now facing bleak winters with a crippling loss of income. The uncertainty and instability for these institutions as they move into 2022 will undoubtedly be felt throughout the sector, with questions marks over exhibitions and performances leading to a loss of work for artists, performers and other creative practitioners.
While acceleration of the booster rollout in an effort to combat the rise in cases is welcome, it is clear that targeted emergency support is urgently needed to stabilise the current situation for those hardest hit.
Creative UK calls on the UK government to provide:
Without introducing immediate measures there is a substantial risk that much of the government’s work to support the Creative Industries during the pandemic to date will be undone. We must ensure this does not happen.