“A Newcastle without nightlife is like the sky without stars”

ChronicleLive in Newcastle has launched a campaign to try and save the city’s famous night-time economy from collapsing due to pandemic-related lockdowns.

Hundreds of jobs have been lost in the region’s hospitality and cultural sectors since the initial coronavirus lockdown, with venues closing either temporarily or, in some cases, shutting their doors for ever.

Support packages from the Government and the extension to the furloughing scheme until next March have given companies some breathing space while their businesses are shut.

But there are concerns that the region’s world-renowned nightlife, which brings tens of thousands of visitors to the region and supports an estimated 6,500 jobs in Newcastle alone, could be damaged for ever without more help to get them through the winter.

There are fears up to 72% of night-time economy businesses could go bust if the new new tiering restrictions go on for much longer.

This week, Newcastle was placed in Tier 3 restrictions, which will keep pubs, bars and restaurants shut for everything except takeaways. Indoor entertainment venues, such as cinemas, will also have to remain shut.

ChronicleLive has pledged to help cultural and hospitality firms with a campaign that showcases ways in which people in the region can support the businesses involved, but also puts pressure on the Government to do everything it can to help struggling firms in these sectors.

Locally, ChronicleLive will be using newspapers, websites and social media channels to highlight businesses that are still open, even if in a limited way. They have promised to encourage companies to spend money that would have been used for staff Christmas parties with local pubs and restaurants.

At a national level, ChronicleLive will be calling on the Government to provide whatever financial support is needed for cultural and hospitality businesses while they are affected by lockdowns.

Helen Dalby, audience and content director for Reach in the North East, said: “The North East’s culture and hospitality scene is famous all over the world for being, quite simply, brilliant.

“Now, businesses in these sectors need our support more than ever, both virtually and online during lockdown, and as we emerge from restrictions and rebuild for the future.

“At ChronicleLive, we’re proud of our vibrant, welcoming pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs and arts venues. We know they are struggling in this unprecedented crisis, and we believe this should be being talked about loudly, every day.

“Save Our Scene will encourage people to order local and buy local, and will showcase ways in which people in the North East can support these businesses during lockdown. And we will demand that the Government does more with specific, targeted support to help struggling firms in these sectors.

“When discussing this campaign as a team, our ChronicleLive head of audience Sophie Barley commented that ‘a Toon without its nightlife is like the sky without stars’.

“That sums it up, and we want to do all we can to help ensure our scene is supported until normality returns.”

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The stories behind the stories, from the regional press in the UK

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