With the Government set to confirm a four-week delay to the lifting of Covid restrictions, those who work in live performance are worried about what this will mean for their livelihoods.
If social distancing and the current 50% audience capacity limit at venues remains in place, the lack of financial viability means many establishments will stay closed. In turn, workers and Equity members will not have jobs to go to.
While he says "there's no dispute that public health comes first", Equity General Secretary, Paul W Fleming, has called the Government's approach "a catastrophic blow to Equity’s members and their live performance workplaces".
In a statement, produced below in full, the General Secretary calls for real grants for producers to make up for reduced capacity, a government-backed insurance scheme, and reform to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – which 40% of Equity members have been excluded from for reasons such as doing too much work on PAYE, operating through a limited company, or taking time off to have children or care for others.
As Equity has highlighted throughout the pandemic, for many creative workers, the Covid-19 has only exacerbated long-standing issues such as low pay, job insecurity and a lack of diversity in the industry.