Boris | UK | News (Reports)

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Millions of businesses were forced to shut their doors back in March as the UK went into a strict lockdown but there was a glimmer of hope as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced easing of restrictions.

Earlier this week, Mr Johnson imposed new measures banning groups of more than six people in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

But the Birmingham Live Music Project (BLMP) think tank has warned restricting the capacity of live events will have a detrimental effect on the live music industry.

Dr Patrycja Rozbicka, project lead for BLMP, told Express.co.uk: “We have already previously estimated that with various degrees of restrictions on social gatherings, the capacity of live events across the region dropped to 1/3 of its pre-COVID capacity.

“With the newest ‘rule of six’, we anticipate that the number of live events taking place will drop even more.

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“Further, the plans to postpone the trials for large events and conferences by at least a month puts production companies across the region in a position of even great jeopardy without provision for alternative solutions.

“That’s a minimum of 2,350 full time jobs linked to the music tourism in West Midlands alone.”

Michael Kill, CEO of the trade body the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), added the Government’s plan leaves many businesses with difficult decisions surrounding their future.

He added: “The NTIA expresses concerns around the continual exclusion of Night Time Economy businesses from support within Birmingham and across the UK.

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“It breaks my heart to have to insist on these restrictions upon individuals, upon families, grandparents.

“There’s nobody in government who conceivably wants to do this.

“I know over time the rules have become quite complicated and confusing.

“Let me be clear – these measures are not a second national lockdown – the whole point of them is to avoid a second national lockdown.”

During the press briefing, Professor Chris Whitty warned the new measures could be in place until spring next year to stop a winter surge of the virus.

He said: “Everybody I think in the country will know, and it has been widely reported that the period over autumn and winter, which is the period when all respiratory viruses have an advantage because people crowd together, more things are done indoors amongst other reasons, it is going to be difficult.

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“I think in terms of the existing restrictions, people should see this as the next block of time that may not last for many months, but it is very unlikely to be over in just two or three weeks.”

The live entertainment industry has been one of the worst hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As per government guidance, venues “following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than six people in total, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than six”.

They added: “Indoor theatres, music and performance venues are able to reopen with socially distanced audiences.”

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