A GROUP of local leading industry operators have issued an SOS to save the night-time economy.

Night-time industry operators, including Oceana in Southampton, have raised an urgent plea to the government to save the late night leisure sector from collapse and allow venues to reopen with Covid-secure measures in place.

With the Chancellor’s furlough scheme coming to an end in October, venues are under threat of going under with thousands of jobs lost as the sector remains the only one without a clear reopening date.

Survey results released by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) show that 58 per cent of businesses within the night-time economy fear they will not survive longer than two months without further government support. This would put an estimated 754,000 jobs at risk.

Commenting on the survey, Michael Kill, Chief Executive of NTIA said: “These results feel like the final catastrophic blow to the night-time economy, which employs 1.3 million people in the UK and contributes £66bn to the UK economy per annum. Near enough every single business is on a dangerous cliff edge. This is the darkest of days for the night-time economy.”

The group of industries is making the case for a return to business with a report backed by the Institute of Occupational Medicine on how it can be done to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The report states that venues can be operated safely with a range of measures, including: ID scans upon entry; temperature checks upon entry; crowd control through the representation of licensed security personnel; contactless payment; sophisticated ventilation systems; large square footage venues, allowing for social distancing; and frequent and high intensity cleaning and hygiene regimes.

Peter Marks, CEO at The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of late night bars and clubs, and owner of Oceana, added: “The late night leisure sector, a sector which employs tens of thousands across the UK, is at risk of collapse if the government does not act now - it is that simple. We need a clear reopening plan, or at the very least fit-for-purpose financial assistance.”