October 28, 2020

The impact of Covid-19 on the events and furniture hire industry

Furniture hire industry

Whilst we’ve always tried to remain positive throughout the Covid pandemic, there’s no doubt at all that the events sector, including the furniture hire industry, has been hit hard. With no live music festivals, sporting events, exhibitions, or corporate events, the stark fact remains: our furniture hire business reduced by about 90 per cent this summer, compared with the same period in 2019. So, we ask….what is the future for our industry?

Uncertainty in the furniture hire industry

Entering the first ‘lockdown’ phase, some seven months ago, we never imagined how severe the situation would get.  In fact, back then we were still optimistic for a busy autumn. The Chancellor’s furlough scheme, and grants have of course been invaluable; keeping our business (and many others) ticking over during the hardest times.  However, there is still so much uncertainty for the future.

Restrictions on gatherings were put in place by the Government for public safety. First: social distancing, then the ‘rule of six’. Additionally, we now have the new Tiers 1-3 structure in the UK, meaning that some parts of the country are effectively back in full lockdown. All of this has made it virtually impossible for any events to go ahead – at least in the next six months. And, until a Covid vaccine is rolled out, we find it difficult to see how anything will change significantly.

Missing the office ‘buzz’…..

A busy summer packed with non-stop events was always a way of life at Rio Lounge. Naturally, we have all missed the buzz and camaraderie of the office and warehouse this year. Last year we hired furniture to over 350 events in summer alone. This year has been a completely different story, with just a few socially distanced events.

Event industry protests outside Parliament

Many in the events industry feel left behind by the Government, and have actively demanded greater support. On 29 September, a mass protest was held outside Parliament. Dressed in red, event professionals from around the country gathered to make a silent protest. Representatives from the live music, exhibition and conference industries congregated at Parliament Square at 12:30pm. Standing in ordered rows, the protesters then turned their backs to Parliament. Thus symbolising how Government has ‘turned its back’ on the struggling events industry during the pandemic. Since then, Government have announced additional funding for venues. However, the suppliers, planners and hirers who create the events are receiving little in the way of support. 

We are still here for your furniture hire needs

We are still open, however, please be aware that we have been forced to operate with reduced staff and office hours.  Please be patient with us if you don’t get an immediate reply; things may take a little longer than usual for this reason. Call us on 0845 46 77483 or send an email.