The UK Cinema Association has expressed disappointment at today’s confirmation that the removal of social distancing restrictions in England will be delayed, and has called on the Government to offer additional support to its members.
While mindful of the rationale behind today’s decision, the Association is nevertheless hugely disappointed that as a result many of its members will continue to face significant challenges as they look to recover from the enormous financial impacts of COVID.
While the cinema business model means that most sites can still operate viably at below full occupancy, the practical impact of current social distancing restrictions is that available capacity at each cinema site is reduced by as much as 75 per cent. The financial impact of continuing these measures is therefore undeniable.
This further delay in returning to normal operating conditions demands that the Government look again at the measures it has in place to support cinemas and other affected business sectors, and adjusts these to ensure that they are able to weather the challenges the next few months will now present.
- we ask that the Government postpones the planned ‘taper’ of the furlough scheme, where employers will from July be increasingly expected to contribute towards the salaries of furloughed staff;
- with reduced revenues, cinemas and other venues will need a further extension of steps taken by the Government to prevent landlords taking enforcement action against commercial tenants for non-payment of rent; and
- we would hope to see the Government agree to a further extension of the current business rates holiday for those in the leisure, hospitality and retail sector, due to end concurrently with the previous timetable for the relaxation of restrictions.