What Boris Johnson’s June 21 announcement means for Liverpool
2 years ago
By Kitty Cooper
Boris Johnson announced today that plans for the end of restrictions in England on June 21 will be put on hold.
The date was due to mark the end of all legal limits on social contact, allowing nightclubs to open and larger events to go ahead.
However, plans to move into phase 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown have been put on hold until July 19.
The Prime Minister said: “Now is the time to ease off the accelerator.
“June 21st was always a ‘not before’ date. I am pretty confident that July 19th will be, as it were, a terminus date.”
The North West was highlighted by Professor Chris Whitty as having an increasing number of cases of Covid-19, with a 64% increase since last week.
The continued restrictions will likely impact Liverpool’s events and entertainment industry, which has had to continually adapt to the restrictions in place.
Pez Tellet, club promoter and DJ in Liverpool, said:
“The problem is that we are running at 25% capacity.
“People can go shopping, to the cinema and to restaurants, but unfortunately it is the nightlife industry which is being affected.”
Currently, indoor events are capped at 1000, or 50% capacity, with outdoor events limited to 4000, or 50% capacity.
These indoor restrictions on numbers have had a severe impact on artists and creatives in Liverpool.
Jess Fairclough, Marketing Manager at FACT said those working in the arts, culture, music, film and events industry have slipped through the gaps.
She said: “With a creative workforce of over 24,000 people in Liverpool and a higher proportion of creative freelancers than other regions, any extension of restrictions must be met with additional support for those affected.
“Culture is the heartbeat of Liverpool and we must do everything to support it whilst on the path to recovery.”
Restrictions are also affecting local theatres, which are unable to ‘sell out’ shows to full capacity.
The Royal Court’s Marketing Manager, Iain Christie, said forward planning has prevented further complications following Boris Johnson’s announcement.
Tickets for their new comedy ‘Ellen and Rigby’ have been sold at 50% of the theatre’s capacity, despite hopes for the easing on June 21.
Iain said: “We have 50,000 people come to [the Christmas show] each year.
“25,000 is a big drop in terms of annual income.
“If all venues have to operate at 50% capacity, I don’t think that’s sustainable in the long term.”
However, Iain praised the people of Liverpool for their understanding of the situation.
He said: “The audiences have been absolutely phenomenal.
“Every time we have contacted them to postpone the show or bring in protocols for Covid, the audience has said, ‘yes, no problem’.”
One change to the restrictions, which will likely see many couples in Merseyside breathe a sigh of relief, is that there will no longer be a 30-person limit for weddings.
This change will take place as planned on June 21, however social distancing measures must still be in place.
Dan, from Liverpool, said his wedding, set to take place on the Wirral after June 21, had been moved three times.
He said: “If restrictions remained in place as they are now, then I think we would have to rearrange it again or eventually cancel it.”
Bill Addy, CEO of Liverpool BID Company, said on the extension of restrictions past 21st June and the impact on Liverpool’s businesses:
“We are disappointed to see the 21 June date pushed back, especially for our city’s famous night time economy and events industry, which has been among some of the hardest hit by the pandemic. We would urge the government to ensure that support is linked to enforced closure so that our creative industries and hospitality sector is not hit even further by being forced to lay dormant.
We understand the commitment to data and not dates, but clarity is vital here. There is a lot of frustration around this, and it is understandable.
We need to see the figures, because what we understood from the Liverpool pilot schemes was that, with a negative test before the events, there was no Covid outbreak. Show us the data that shows it isn’t safe to reopen.
Support must continue if businesses are not able to open their doors and if there is reduced demand. At the start of this pandemic we came together as a city and showed true leadership to protect our industries. We need to see the same thing again.”
As of June 11, almost 60% of the population in Liverpool aged 16 and over had been vaccinated with at least 1 dose.
Data covering testing up to June 8 showed that the total number of confirmed cases for the last 7 days was 424, an increase of 308 on the previous week.
However, the latest weekly total of Covid-19 deaths within 28 days of a positive test was zero.