‘Don’t make us die’ cry firms frozen out of Covid help

Linda J. Dodson

The government has spent billions supporting businesses through coronavirus. But some industries and individuals have fallen through the gaps, while others are not being allowed to reopen even as support starts to wind down.

In the first of a three-part series looking at companies and individuals being failed by coronavirus support, the UK’s largest nightclub group says “don’t make us die”.

A normal night at Pryzm nightclub in Brighton meant queues stretched around the block and revellers dancing into the early hours before spilling out onto the seafront for a late night wander.

But the club on West Street in the town centre has now been closed for almost six months as coronavirus restrictions drag on. It is the same story for all of owner The Deltic Group’s 53 UK nightclubs and late-night bars.

“I am burning through £600,000 a month on fixed costs,” says Peter Marks, chief executive of Deltic.

“If I had been told I was going to be shut for so long six months ago, I would have had a very different plan.

“It’s like being sat at the roulette table and every month I put another load of chips on, and every time I lose.”

As the largest UK nightclub group, Deltic is particularly exposed to the ongoing ban on nightclubs re-opening.

Along with dance halls, discos, “sex entertainment venues” and hostess bars, nightclubs have been left out of the (subdued) party as restaurants, bars and pubs welcome back customers.

They have been given no date on when they might be able to do so, and were dealt another blow last week with the ban on social gatherings of more than six people.

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