Last week The Courier reported on the damage to Newcastle’s nightlife due to the constraints on the North East, but it appears the problem is much more widespread.
Business representatives of Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland wrote a letter to the Chancellor in early October demanding more support for the region’s pubs, bars, and clubs.
The open letter called for an easing of the 10pm curfew and financial support in the form of an extension of the furlough scheme. They argued that the employment of over 10 000 people and a revenue of nearly £680 million annually had to be taken into account when imposing restrictions. The letter also drew attention to the safety of hospitality venues and low infection rates.
There were warnings that the situation will very likely get worse, due to the “despairing operators simply shutting their doors with the very realistic prospect of staff redundancies following at the end of October, when furlough stops.”
In the following weeks after the open letter, Newcastle and the North East have only seen more business closures, and not just restricted to the nightlife scene. Leisure facilities that have been forced to close indefinitely include West Denton Swimming Pool, Eldon Leisure Centre and Walker Activity Dome.
As well as this, Sage Gateshead, a charitable organisation, announced in September that they would have to make 110 staff redundant. This came after deliberations that had lasted since early August.
Despite fighting to avoid redundancies and receiving £300 000 in the first three months of their “Crisis, Recovery and renaissance” fundraising campaign, the financial impact of the pandemic was on too large a scale to be challenged.
A spokesperson for Sage told The Chronicle that charities like this organisation “have seen the most immediate financial impact” in comparison to the more heavily reported on nightlife closures.
Last modified: 30th October 2020