The Creative Industries Federation has criticised the UK government's decision not to ban group gatherings due to coronavirus, as it could restrict the ability of creative organisations to claim compensation.
The national membership organisation that represents companies in the UK’s creative industries believes that the decision to advise social distancing rather than implement a ban on gatherings of people could severely financially damage cultural organisations and creative companies.
"The advice issued by government today is a crippling blow to the UK's creative industries," said Caroline Norbury, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation.
Yesterday, UK prime minister Boris Johnston announced a range of recommendations aimed at reducing people's contact with each other to slow the spread of coronavirus Covid-19. As part of the measures, he recommended people avoid crowded places such as pubs, museums and theatres.
"Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others," said Johnson. "You should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues."
"These measures have the potential to devastate"
However, unlike many countries in Europe, the UK government has not banned large-scale events or gatherings, a move that the Creative Industries Federation believes will reduce the possibility for organisations to claim compensation.
"As the social distancing measures announced this afternoon are only advisory, rather than an outright ban, we are deeply concerned that creative organisations and cultural spaces will find they are unable to claim compensation for the huge losses they will experience as a result of Covid-19," Norbury said.
"Public safety remains the top priority for everyone in the creative sector. However, these measures have the potential to devastate the UK's theatres, museums, cinemas, venues and other cultural spaces reliant on audiences, visitors and participation, as well as the huge array of creators and freelancers who work within these industries."
However, according to the Association of British Insurers, compensation for cancelled events would not be determined by a government decision to force businesses to close.
"Irrespective of whether or not the government orders closure of a business, the vast majority of firms won't have purchased cover that will enable them to claim on their insurance to compensate for their business being closed by coronavirus," said the Association of British Insurers in a statement.
"Standard business interruption cover – the type the majority of businesses purchase – does not include forced closure by authorities."
"It is vital that government puts in place support"
The Creative Industries Federation urged the government to put in place financial measures to support organisations and businesses that will be impacted.
"For the sake of our £111.7 billion creative industries, it is vital that government puts in place support to ensure that our world-leading creative sector is able to survive Covid-19," said Norbury.
Later today, the UK government is expected to unveil its financial plans to support the UK economy during the coronavirus outbreak.
The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 coronavirus in the UK continues to rise. At present, there are more than 1,500 confirmed cases in the UK.
Photo of the National Gallery by Diliff