Boris Johnson has just confirmed a second national shutdown in England. This is nothing short of a catastrophe for the arts, and for the whole country.
With more timely and effective measures to control the spread of Covid-19, fewer lives would be at risk and an extended shutdown may have been avoidable.
Instead we face a major new setback to our economic, social and cultural life. It is now the right and necessary move to save lives. But it will be a hammer-blow to the most vulnerable, and will further jeapordise the arts in our communities and society.
The arts industries have been some of the hardest hit during the pandemic. The last lockdown destroyed incomes across the sector, and for those who were just beginning a fragile recovery, this is sudden and devastating news.
With less than a week’s notice, projects will once again have to be undone, jobs will be at risk and livelihoods thrown into disarray. Already, too many arts workers have fallen through the cracks of government support, and have been forced into unemployment.
The extension of the furlough scheme is welcome, but without urgent support to the whole of the arts sector – and to all workers affected by this new lockdown – there will be even greater suffering, and the UK will face an even longer road to recovery.
The Public Campaign for the Arts will continue to bring people together to advocate for the arts in every community, using tools like our Arts Map.
If you haven’t joined us already, please join the campaign now, and help us to protect our artists and arts companies from the impacts of this disastrous second shutdown.