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Creative industries sector could be “devastated” by Prime Minister’s closure advice

empire

The creative industries sector could be “devastated” by Boris Johnson’s decision to advise people to avoid entertainment and other social venues, rather than banning their use altogether.

Unveiling a raft of new hardline measures designed to slow the outbreak of coronavirus, the Prime Minister yesterday said that “now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel”.

He added: “We need people to start working from home where they possibly can. And you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.”

By not enforcing a complete shutdown, creative industry workers say they will not be able to claim insurance for the unprecedented disruption.

And Caroline Norbury, chief executive officer of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, said: “The advice issued by the government today is a crippling blow to the UK’s creative industries.

“As the social distancing measures announced this afternoon are only advisory, rather than an outright ban, we are deeply concerned that creative organisations and cultural spaces will find they are unable to claim compensation for the huge losses they will experience as a result of Covid-19.

“Public safety remains the top priority for everyone in the creative sector. However, these measures have the potential to devastate the UK’s theatres, museums, cinemas, venues and other cultural spaces reliant on audiences, visitors and participation, as well as the huge array of creators and freelancers who work within these industries.”

Ambassador Theatre Group, which includes the Empire Theatre in Liverpool, were among a number of theatre owners across the North to close their doors.

Its Group CEO, Mark Cornell, said: “In response to the Prime Minister’s statement this evening, advising the UK public to avoid unnecessary social contact, including in theatres, we regret to inform you that shows in all Ambassador Theatre Group UK venues are suspended with immediate effect.”

Odeon Cinemas has also temporarily shut all its cinemas across the country.

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