Many UK music venues would go bankrupt if they open for socially-distanced gigs.

Announced as part of the stage 4 lockdown easing measures, the UK government stated that music and theatre venues were permitted to open their doors for live performances from last Saturday (15th), under new government guidance and with strict social-distancing rules in place.

While this remained welcome news for bigger venues, a lot of grassroots music venues, which are still struggling under the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, could go bankrupt if they have to adhere to the new “normal”.

In a statement to NME, Music Venues Trust CEO Mark Davyd that “The problem with stage four is that social distancing doesn’t work in around two thirds of venues. That’s not just about getting people in, but also not being able to manage the space to use the toilet, get to the bar, and more physical issues.

“Stage four is actually slight out of line and out of time with the public funding that would be needed to cover the costs for venues,” he continued. “They can’t do it without public subsidy. Several venues called me this morning to say, ‘Were we to open, we would go bankrupt’. It is good news that we’re further along this roadmap, but it doesn’t make much difference to grassroots venues. It’s not financially viable for them to do it.

“We’re still running the #SaveOurVenues campaign, still supporting venues to get the £1.57billion of public funding, and we’ll see where that gets us to over the next six weeks.”

In July, the government announced a £1.57 billion support package for arts and culture institutions which remained closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced details of the financial package, which included £270m in loans and £880million in grants for music venues, theatres, museums, heritage sites and galleries. 

(Pictured: Jazz Cafe, London)