Last night (24 September) was the first evening the hospitality sector shut up shop at 10pm, in line with new measures outlined by prime minister Boris Johnson on 22 September. In a television broadcast on Tuesday, Johnson said the restrictions could last for up to six months.
Theatres and cinemas will be exempt from the 10pm cut-off, however. This was confirmed in a string of tweets from culture secretary Oliver Dowden, who also announced that plans to reopen sports events to fans, first with limited "pilot" events and then more widely from 1 October, would be halted. Business events will also no longer be permitted to restart from 1 October, as previously planned.
The hospitality sector plays an important role in the experience economy and the latest measures make it harder for these businesses to operate.
Campaign asked the events industry what the new restrictions mean for the experiences sector.
Head of production, Amplify
Aside from the obvious concerns raised by Tuesday's update and the stricter measures put in place, it was heartening to at last hear some formal recognition of what our industry brings to the table and its importance from those in the corridors of power. That, together with the compelling arguments given in the recent DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)/venues webinar, only further endorses what we should already know. Firstly, that the additional challenges of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew can and will be navigated with the usual expertise associated with our industry. Secondly, when we're finally given the chance to lift the curtain again, we'll be ready to put on one hell of a show. Until that point, we will continue to keep calm, remain measured and continue to find innovative ways to help brands communicate with their audiences.
Founder, The Luna Cinema
In accordance with the current guidelines, The Luna Cinema is pleased to be able to continue with our scheduled screenings with the necessary safety procedures in place. Our traditional open-air screenings that continue until mid-October are set out with socially distanced pitches, meaning the audience is kept safely apart at all times. All seating is sanitised between each screening and bookers can choose either a two-person or four-person pitch, but with people attending from no more than two households. Larger groups from more than two households can sit in adjacent pitches. We also ensure there is socially distanced queuing for toilets, with ample hand-sanitising facilities for all guests and safe food and drink collection and delivery. We are also excited to bring back our drive-in offer for Halloween at Allianz Park and Thorpe Park, which is the perfect solution for outdoor cinema in these times.
Group managing director, PrettyGreen and The Producers
It's clear that another full lockdown will have a detrimental effect on the nation and destroy many businesses. So a 10pm curfew is better than 8pm and will keep much of the events and entertainment industry "open for business". Instilling some Swedish sensibility, and trusting that the public can socialise and enjoy the culture that the UK is so famous for, with museums, galleries and entertainment venues open – with full safety precautions in place – shows that we can manage and entertain crowds safely. This will give consumers confidence to keep going out day and night and get us through what otherwise could be a very bleak winter.
Head of live, Frukt
Is anyone else dizzy from all this pivoting? As an agency with a sporting heritage, it's positive that elite sport is still permitted, though our approach to activation has naturally shifted without fans in attendance. It feels like hospitality is at the sharp end of a lot of changes – with businesses that have invested in reorganising their venues and retraining staff now told that trade must cease at 10pm.
This ever-changing landscape means the industry needs to reassess how we engage our audiences, establishing new models that allow us to create meaningful connections in this new context. We thrive on a healthy ecosystem, with brands, audiences and partners, such as venues and rightsholders, integral to this.
Our sector is built on creativity, and the Octagon team has done impressive work this year, despite the challenges, so I trust in our ability to continue to innovate and invent.
Managing director, Plasa
With government tightening the screws once again and imposing more restrictions, any hope the events industry may have had of getting back on its feet is significantly diminished. Worth £100bn to the national economy, the sector is the beating heart of UK culture – yet people just don't realise its vast scale. We are a solid financial investment and will be able to contribute far more to a global recovery than we will cost in the meantime. Unless the government extends furlough and adds grants to those working within the industry, the collateral damage could be irreparable.