France could look to reopen small festivals from May 11, while Groupon has laid off 40 per cent of its staff…

French festivals

France’s Culture Minister Franck Riester has said that ‘small festivals’ of around 50 people could be held after May 11.

The announcement comes after French president Emmanuel Macron extended the ban on festivals in the country until “at least” mid-July, which forced the cancellations of Eurockéennes de Belfort, which last year welcomed 130,000 people, Solidays, Festival d’Avignon and Main Square.

Reister said during a hearing in the Senate that decisions can be made on a case-by-case basis for festivals, but indicated small rural festivals with no more than 50 people would be acceptable.

He said: “Let us accept that we can settle this case by case. It is certain that a large gathering, a pit with 3000 people, on top of each other, is not imaginable.

“On the other hand, a small rural festival, with a stage, a musician and 50 people, who are one meter from each other, on chairs, and who have a mask, and when entering the site the possibility of enjoying themselves wash your hands with specific products: we can hold these festivals.”

He added that the priority will be the safety of spectators, artists, and technicians.

Insurance

UK trade association Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has teamed up with a leading industry barrister to coordinate claims against Hiscox Insurance for refusal to pay out under its business interruption policy.

NTIA, who last week claimed its member businesses are being denied COVID-19-related insurance claims, have instructed Philip Kolvin QC, an industry barrister, to advise on members’ rights under their insurance policies.

According to the association, Hiscox Insurance underwrote one of the main leisure sector policies.

Kolvin said claimants who were insured by the company against closure by public authorities and who had to close their premises under the regulation “have a good case against Hiscox.”

Michael Kill, chief executive of NTIA, said: “Night Time Economy businesses are being denied legitimate insurance claims, many claims are being disputed by insurers based on contrived arguments to avoid sharing the financial burden during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Kolvin added: “Leisure operators are suffering severe hardship. There is a clear and present danger that the industry will be decimated, that leisure businesses throughout the UK will go to the wall, that jobs and livelihoods will be lost, and that the cultural capacity of the nation will be depleted for years to come.

“It is time now for those insurance companies who know they are liable under their policies do the same. The clue is in the name ‘insurance’. It is what they are in business for. They should not be running for cover. They will never be forgiven for doing so.”

Groupon

E-commerce marketplace Groupon, which has several ticketing partnerships, has laid off 2,800 employees, which equates to 44 per cent of its workforce.

The company disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had approved a “multi-phase” restructuring plan. The first phase includes cutting 1,400 jobs, most by the end of the second quarter and the rest by July 2021.

It also said the next phase of restructuring would take place by the end of the third quarter and would expect to include additional job cuts, facilities exit costs and non-cash impairment charges.

The company said due to COVID-19 sales in April have plunged 70% compared to last year in North America and 80% internationally.

Image: sasastro