Events body warns of permanent closures

A new body representing Ireland’s events industry has warned that more half of its businesses may not survive the year due to the extended disruptions posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Event Industry Ireland (EII) has called on the Government to support businesses affected by coronavirus as fears the sector will soon face permanent closures.

A survey of 343 events agencies found that 57 per cent have temporarily let staff go and eight per cent have made permanent lay-offs. A fifth say they can stay in business for only another one to three months based on their current revenues, while another 35 per cent say they can last four to six months at best. Almost all agencies have seen a major drop in revenue.

Some 44 per cent of events businesses have reported that 80 per cent of their annual revenue streams have already cancelled their business for 2020, with only a fifth of that business rescheduled to 2021. Some 27 per cent say they can run less than 10 per cent of their business while the current social-distancing guidelines are in place.


More than a third also believe they could only ensure social distancing at indoor events of fewer than 100 people and 29 per cent say they could manage social distancing at outdoor events for gatherings of 300- 1,000 people. But only four per cent believe they can ensure Government guidelines are followed for events of 5,000 attendees and above.

More than one in four agencies believe it will take up to 18 months to return to pre-pandemic levels of business. The industry employs 35,000 people in Ireland and generates more than €3.5 billion for the economy annually. EII wants the Government to introduce safeguards ahead of what is usually the busiest time of year for the industry.

EII is seeking a further extension of the wage subsidy scheme for the sector, a reduced VAT rate, tax incentives, assistance on insurance issues and support for virus-testing at the point-of-entry to festivals, concerts and sporting events. EII member Ronan Traynor of Verve said events companies will be among the last to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown what was a thriving sector in Ireland’s future into doubt, with many businesses now struggling with revenue and their cash flow unlikely to return to normal levels for some time,” Traynor said. EII member agencies include Catapult, Cogs & Marvel, Davis Events, Grooveyard, MCI Group, Pluto and Verve.


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