OFFICIAL STATEMENT REGARDING COVID-19 | INSPIRE TO ASPIRE EVENTS LIMITED
STATEMENT RELEASED | 2ND APRIL 2020
As you are well aware the UK Government forced the closure of all public gatherings which included the closure of all pubs, hotels, restaurants, bars and events as part of its plan to tackle the Corona Virus pandemic which in turn forced the postponement of The Murder Trial Live 2020 UK wide tour, Anatomy Lab LIVE, The VIVIT Experience and Operating Theatre Live events. This week the noises coming from Government is that these restrictions are likely now to be ongoing for much of 2020.
ITAE Productions, the arm of the organisation responsible for the planning, delivery and execution of our ticketed events has been and will continue to be significantly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. HM Government have now legislated to confine people to their homes and released no timeframes on how long the situation will continue for.
Irrespective of when the restrictions are likely to be lifted, working restrictions and self-isolation enforcements mean that we are simply unable to complete the work necessary in the coming months to ensure the events can proceed safely.
In terms of the next steps, you will have seen many organisations operating in the leisure and tourism sector postponing their operations until later this year or into 2021. In line with most other event organisers in the UK, we have contingency strategies and carry extensive insurance policies to cover situations where events cannot go ahead. Having spent the last few weeks liaising with our brokers and industry bodies, the outcome has been determined that these strategies and polices exist to manage small scale situations where events cannot take place e.g. weather conditions and/or services failure. None of these policies or strategies cover the unprecedented circumstances of the current outbreak of COVID-19 coupled with government intervention.
As you can appreciate, we are trying to chart our way through these times to ensure that that we can continue to produce and deliver the shows that we love producing and you love attending.
Due to the current circumstances our revenue stream has been shut off for the next 3 months. In addition to this, over the last 6 months we have committed a huge amount of staffing, land procurement, AV equipment, logistical and plant machinery, technical expertise, venue costs, consumable stock, back office infrastructure and marketing costs towards this year’s shows. All of which are now unrecoverable. Due to the sheer scale of the cancellations, disappointingly, cash-refunding guests for tickets to events cancelled due to COVID-19 is not now a viable option.
We recognise that our standard terms and conditions do allow for refunds if an event is cancelled by us or a natural disaster. However, a global pandemic combined with government intervention on such a scale is not something we are able to plan for or insure against. Given these unprecedented circumstances the Government has actively changed the law to prevent us from operating and therefore frustrated these terms and conditions. In line with our Force Majeure cover all guests tickets will now be transferred to rearranged dates. I do hope you understand the challenges we are facing and we, like you, are deeply disappointed that we are unable to offer the variety of options to guests in line with the high standard of guest experience we strive to achieve.
All organisations in the events industry are facing enormous challenges to survive and are implementing a similar approach to deal with mass cancellations of events. I want you to rest assured that I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that ITAE Productions both survives this crisis and is ready to fire up on all cylinders when it is safe to do so, plans for this are well underway.
As it currently stands the entire 2020 string of events has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for later in 2020 or 2021. We will be issuing all guests who held tickets to events scheduled between 16th March and 31th August 2020 a credit note for ANY future event. Those attending The Murder Trial Live or Anatomy Lab LIVE will ALSO receive £30.00 worth of compensatory vouchers to spend on our bar. This is in line with the commitment we made in our initial statement. You will be contacted in the coming months with your credit note and how to redeem it for a future event.
Those guests who had requested refunds for events in January and February that were cancelled due to bad weather and had completed the refund request form, providing this form was submitted before 12.00pm on 16th March 2020 will still be eligible for a refund as we are able to reclaim this within our strategy and insurance. Again, due to the enforcements being placed on the business, we are unable to operate any business processes for the foreseeable future and so the administering of these forms has been halted and payments delayed until further notice. If you are expecting a refund but haven’t yet received it, then it will have been impacted by this delay. As soon as restrictions are lifted and we can return to work, we will begin responding to customers and processing these refunds.
Those who have already accepted a ticket transfer to an event scheduled between 1st March 2020 and 31st August 2020 after a cancelled event will be offered credit notes in line with all other guests.
I understand this may be difficult for some people, but I do think it is important to be open and honest about how we intend to manage this situation. I have exhausted all avenues with government advisors, industry bodies, trading standards and our insurers. The open and honest processes set out are the only viable, fair and realistic option for us.
Many of you may be wanting to get in-touch with us to discuss your order. Like millions of businesses and most likely yourself, in order to retain our staff we have had to use the governments furlough scheme, this means they are forbidden by government to undertake any work related duties. Therefore our guest experience lines are closed until we are able to return to work. Our phone lines (03333447143) , emails and social media channels are not manned. We understand this may be frustrating but is a symptom of our times. It my take many weeks to receive a reply.
Our social media channels are not manned and are managed externally by a partner organisation, during this time they will not be able to respond to messages, comments or questions regarding the current situation outside of this statement. Regarding social media, a number of users have queried accounts being prevented from posting comments. We are subscribers of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram’s policies on community responsibility, our social media management tool is automated and screens comments for words which may be considered, profanity, offensive or harmful to others. It will also screen for SPAM/trolling behaviour e.g. repetitive commenting. If an account is detected it is flagged and a restriction imposed. We are great advocates of social media and we do want you to have your say, all I ask is that you do so in a polite, fair, accurate and responsible manner.
In the meantime, our website remains operational. As soon our 2020/2021 tour schedule is confirmed we will contact ticket holders and begin transferring tickets. We are devising a way to make this process as simple as possible.
I really hope we have the opportunity to welcome you back to an event in 2021, in the mean time, stay home, help protect the NHS and save lives.
Chief Executive Officer