On Monday, February 21, Boris Johnson revealed plans to scrap almost all remaining COVID restrictions in place across the UK, which include an end to self-isolation even after testing positive for the virus.
The new plans to begin “living with COVID” have mixed reviews, with an overarching worry that this could seriously affect those with existing health conditions now fearing to mix with others.
The government has argued that vaccinations, testing, and medication should be enough to keep people safe. Following the announcement made yesterday at Downing Street, music industry bosses have spoken out about the new easing of restrictions.
Speaking to NME, CEO of music body LIVE, Greg Parmley, said: “The safety of artists, crew and fans has been our top priority throughout the pandemic, with many parts of the sector going above and beyond the government guidance when needed.
“If all restrictions, including the need to isolate, are removed shortly then artists, venues, and production companies will continue to act in the best interests of staff and customers, taking the right precautions to remain safe and open for business,” he added.
Similarly, Music Venue Trust - which has now launched a campaign titled #TakeATest - told NME that this would result in a “mixed bag of changes with positive and negative aspects for the music industry”.
“On the one hand, changes to travel rules on testing and the forthcoming changes to isolation are positive moves for international travelling and will provide additional assurances to US, European and other artists that tours can go ahead as planned with a degree of certainty,” said MVT CEO Mark Davyd.
Although, outlining the negatives, Davyd also added that a “significant number of vulnerable people”, particularly those who are immunosuppressed, will be affected at large.
“Grassroots music venues have done all they can to make their spaces as safe as they can be to manage those risks, including encouraging audiences to take a test and consider the use of masks,” he told NME.
Featured Artists Coalition, a non-profit organisation for musicians, also agreed that “the removal of free LFTs” would cause more harm.
“[It] would represent yet another example of mixed messaging for a sector that, over the last 22 months, has faced its most challenging period in a generation,” said FAC’s CEO David Martin.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter