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Never have the words to a song been so fitting since they were originally written in 1939 by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles. But unlike then where the words resonated with the soldiers who were off to fight in the second world war and their families and loved ones left behind, this time it’s the events industry and all those responsible for all the cancelled meetings, conferences and exhibitions who are the casualties of the war against the global coronavirus pandemic.

Since national lockdown restrictions were relaxed, the vast majority of the country has found ways to return to some level of normality but the events industry who were one of the first industries to close back in March are still not allowed to open to audiences of over 30 people. The impact on the industry has been devastating, with the majority of those behind the scenes not having had any meaningful work for the past six months. There have been several initiatives to highlight the plight of the events industry including “We Make Events” and “Light it in Red”, but all of these have been largely overlooked by both Government and the media.

The problem with changing the way that events take place so that they comply with government guidelines is that it’s currently just not financially viable for the majority of venues or businesses but we need to start getting creative if there’s any chance of saving the industry from total collapse. At GRT we’ve been fortunate in that we were already delivering virtual and smaller in-person events as part of our normal business, but for a lot of larger AV companies it still doesn’t allow them to run a profitable business, and with the furlough scheme changes it effectively means that employers will have to contribute more towards their employees’ wages when there’s no more work available. This week we’ll be speaking with The Meetings Industry Association (mia) about how we can all help to restart the events industry in a covid-safe and financially viable way.