Monday 21 September: 3am
I couldn’t sleep. Work – or a lack of it – was going around and around in my head. Yesterday the BBC News had told us that the government’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance were to make a statement regarding the rise in Covid cases. This would not be good news for children’s entertainers.
Monday 21 September: 11am
It was not good news. For anyone.
Covid cases were on the rise – doubling every seven days. In fact, we were told, if steps weren’t taken, by mid-October we could be looking at 50,000 new cases every day. And that rise would result in more hospitalisations. And more deaths. Like night follows day.
Monday 21 September: 10.30pm
BBC News: Pubs will be told to close at 10pm from Thursday. Only table service will be permitted. The PM will address the nation tomorrow.
Just ten days ago, I had blogged how the Rule of Six made no difference to whether or not you could hold your child’s birthday party in your local community or village hall. Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), the organisation that advises trustees of such halls, had even amended their advice to say:
“Children’s entertainers need to get back to work and will have plans for managing social distancing and encouraging hand washing, so offer a good option for organised activities for children and young people.”
But last night I discovered that three days ago, following the introduction of the Rule of Six, they had downgraded their advice:
“While children’s birthday parties are not banned, it is unlikely that keeping children in groups of 6 or less which do not mingle could be achieved, so currently not advised unless organised by someone used to managing this in a school or pre-school.”
Tuesday 22 September: 3am
I couldn’t sleep. For the second night running. Work – or a lack of it – was going around and around in my head again.
Tuesday 22 September: 12.40pm
The prime minister addressed Parliament at lunchtime today, setting out the new restrictions:
- Office workers should work from home if possible
- Hospitality businesses are to operate table service only and to close by 10pm at night
- Staff working in retail businesses must wear face coverings
- The maximum number of guests permitted at weddings will be halved, to just 15 people
- Indoor adult team sports will not be permitted
- The trial of socially distanced conferences and sporting events has been postponed.
Magic Peter: Going Forward
For the past six months, I have tried my damnedest to continue running my business within the rules and restrictions set out by Government. It has been near-impossible. Since 13 March I have performed just six times. So in the last few weeks I’ve been looking for part-time work to fit around my entertainment business as it comes back from the pandemic.
But today, in Parliament, Boris suggested that, without a vaccine, we should expect to live with these restrictions for up to six months.
It’s clear that getting part-time employment will not be enough. The bottom line is that I need to find full-time employment, because the entertainment industry won’t be returning until next summer at the very earliest.
I can’t be choosy. I must consider all options. That includes shift work and working evenings and weekends. That means I’ll be unable to commit to taking entertainment bookings that subsequently I may be unable to honour.
So, from tomorrow, I will be mothballing my business until after Christmas, and I’ll review the position again then. Tomorrow I’ll write to all my clients who have a date reserved with me, advising them that the pandemic means I will not be able to perform for them as we had planned. For that I am extremely sorry. I’ll be writing to all those who have a confirmed booking with me, advising them that their booking still stands but that they should not be surprised if government restrictions mean the performance cannot go ahead.
This has not been an easy decision. I love my job. For the past six months I have missed my job. And although I am suspending my job, I am not giving up my job.
As soon as it’s practical for me to commit to bookings and be confident I’ll be able to put on a show again, Magic Peter will be there. I promise you that.
Please stay in touch. And please stay safe.