About 1, 500 music stars, including Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran and The Rolling Stones, have called on the British government to help the live music industry survive the COVID-19 outbreak.

In an open letter addressed to Oliver Dowden, British culture secretary, on Thursday, the musicians said the move has become imperative in the wake of the negative effect of the pandemic on concerts.

“The future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak,” the letter read.

“Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry.”

The letter called for a clear timeline on when music venues could reopen, as well as support for businesses and jobs.

Reacting to the demand on his Twitter page, Dowden said he is “pushing hard for these dates & to give you a clear roadmap back”.

According to him, the decision on reopening of live music venues would be difficult as it relates to the future of social distancing.

“I understand the deep anxiety of those working in music & the desire to see fixed dates for reopening I am pushing hard for these dates & to give you a clear roadmap back These involve v difficult decisions about the future of social distancing, which we know has saved lives,” he wrote.

Music venues, concerts and festivals – including the annual summer Glastonbury festival – were shuttered or cancelled in March when the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the country.

Britain, whose death toll from pandemic is approaching 55,000, is in the process of gradually reopening retail stores, schools and pubs, according to Reuters.

The musicians said live music added 4.5 billion pounds ($5.6 billion) to the British economy and supported 210,000 jobs across the country in 2019.

The appeal was signed by musicians across genres and generations, including Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Bob Geldof, Coldplay, Sting and Dua Lipa, as well as producers and operators of concert halls and clubs.



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