Hospitality business owners in Bristol have spoken of their frustration after the coronavirus roadmap was delayed.
England was due to move to stage four of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown on June 21, which would have permitted venues and events to operate without capacity limits and lifted the cap on guests at weddings.
The unlocking would also have brought an end to current rules which limit gatherings at home to six people or two households.
But it has been announced on Monday (June 14) that the majority of coronavirus rules will remain in place for another four weeks, amid rising cases of the Delta variant first identified in India.
It means nightclubs and music venues will not be able to reopen fully on June 21 as hoped, placing them in further jeopardy.
The Night Time Industry Association carried out a survey of 300 UK venues after the news was leaked and discovered that one in four late-night businesses will not survive longer than one month without further Government support.
The survey also found that 54 per cent of businesses have spent more than £15k in preparation for reopening on June 21, and that 17.8 per cent have spent more than £40k.
Exchange is one of many music venues in Bristol that will have to scrap its reopening plans and carry on waiting after today’s announcement.
“Like all venue owners we’ve been following the data closely over the past few weeks, so it felt like the delay had been on the cards for a while,” said Matt Otridge, owner of the Old Market venue.
“We’ll grit our teeth and work our way around it, but of course it’s frustrating, not least as we’ll have to spend yet more time rescheduling and cancelling events.
“But we’re nothing as an industry if not resourceful, which is handy when it comes to managing changes.
“We’ll have to wait and see what extra support the Government announces. They have managed to offer support in the past so I really hope that continues.”
Matt added that any financial support will “need to be offered right away” as some venues still haven’t received their Cultural Recovery Fund grants which were supposed to be paid out months ago.
There are also a number of pubs across Bristol that were holding out until June 21 before reopening, due to their lack of inside space.
One of which was The Duke of York in St Werburghs, which will now have to hold on a little while longer before it can start pulling pints again.
“We really weren’t surprised but we are of course frustrated by the situation,” said pub manager Kate Stanley-Dunn.
“It’s just not viable for us to open with restrictions in place so we’re going to continue to hold off.
“We’ve only got a small garden space which is licensed until 10pm, which means that we’d have to close the whole pub at 10pm with restrictions in place.
“After paying for extra staff to be on so we can do table service properly, it would be too much of a financial gamble for us to open.”
Kate added table service is “really crippling the industry” as it requires additional staff to be working but brings “very little reward”.
“I don’t have massive amounts of hope that we’ll be opening in four weeks,” she said. “I hope I’m wrong but I’ve learned to become a realist throughout all of this.”