The day after the presentation by the government of the timetable for the lifting of health restrictions, the event sector is relieved. February 2 will mark the end of gauges in large establishments receiving a seated public (stadiums, cultural establishments, etc.). The mask will remain mandatory. Finally, on February 16, standing concerts will resume and nightclubs will reopen.
“Yesterday, I brought together the Tourism Sector Committee and I can tell you that everyone is happy to have visibility”, testifies this Friday morning on BFMTV Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister Delegate in charge of Tourism, and Small and Medium Companies.
“This allows us to start our job again with a little more freedom”, welcomes Renaud Hamaide, president of the French Union of Event Trades – Reception (Unimev).
A long-awaited reboot
The events sector has been hard hit since the start of the health crisis, particularly at the end of the year, after the discovery of the Omicron variant. “Corporate events will be able to restart. For caterers and service providers, this is good news because their order books were empty,” rejoices Renaud Hamaide, guest of Good Morning Business this Friday.
The gradual lifting of restrictions is also good news for shows and fairs. Even though they weren’t not affected by gauges, some organizers had preferred to cancel or postpone the holding of the event, fearing an unfavorable evolution of the health crisis, like the Angouleme Festival. The vaccination pass will be required, as will the wearing of a mask.
“In September, when the business reopened, everything restarted very well. With this crisis, we learned that multi-channel was needed, in particular by allowing videoconferencing, but face-to-face remains popular”, says Renaud Hamaide , president of Unimev.
Some sectors fear that the restart will take longer than expected, especially in live performance. The health situation is improving and yet reservations are still at half mast. Blame it on a change in habits, or the fear of seeing the event canceled because of the Covid-19.
“There has been a general decline in events since September. There is a fear, but there is still this desire to come and see concerts, to relive this moment of entertainment”, testifies Bathilde Lorenzetti, vice-president of the operating company of Paris La Défense Arena.
“We lost 25 million euros. We had 4 million euros in aid for Paris La Défense Arena, or partial unemployment and relief from charges, nevertheless it was a financial pit and it was economically vital that we can find a full and complete activity”, she adds.
Events suffer from another problem: the lack of manpower. The sector has 350,000 jobs. “When we started our job again in September, our big challenge was to find people, because people had gone elsewhere. There was a big wave of hiring. That’s also why we didn’t “we did not put the staff out of work at the end of the year”, for fear of not finding them, explains Renaud Hamaide, president of Unimev. “We kept our teams with the idea that things would soften in a month, and that is the case,” he adds.
Activity will gradually restart and government aid, for sectors still affected by the crisis, will continue to be paid. “The aid continues as long as the restrictive measures are in force, until February 2 or 16 depending on the sector. We will continue this support, which has never stopped but which has always been adapted”, added assured this Friday morning the Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.