Coronavirus: United Kingdom, facing worst recession on record, sees GDP drop 20.4% in Q2

The UK has seen its economy, hit by the coronavirus crisis, suffer a "record" contraction of 20.4% in the second quarter, and is officially facing its worst recession on record, agency figures show National Statistics (ONS), published Wednesday 12 August. 
Economists consider that a country enters a technical recession when it accumulates two consecutive quarters of contraction in its economy. According to the ONS, most of the contraction, which began to be felt in March, occurred in April, an entire month of containment and almost total cessation of activity in the country, which saw production collapsed by 20%.

With a very early recovery in construction sites and manufacturing activity, gross domestic product (GDP) rebounded in May by 2.4% (revised figure), followed by an acceleration in June (+8.7 %) thanks in particular to the reopening of all shops. This is the biggest contraction in the UK economy since the ONS began these quarterly statistics in 1955, he said…

Coronavirus in Avignon: The cancellation of the festival, "an economic disaster that we dared not imagine"

The cancellation of the Avignon festival due to the coronavirus epidemic generates significant financial losses for the professionals of the spectacle, but also for all the local fabric of the city of the Popes. Olivier Py wanted to believe it until the end. Just last week, when the cancellations of French festivals rained, the director of the Avignon festival said he was "worried but not pessimistic", as if he clung to the idea that the coronavirus could spare this major event performing arts that take up its summer quarters in the city of the Popes every year.
 
Coronavirus in Avignon: The cancellation of the festival, "an economic disaster that we dared not imagine"

But this Monday evening, the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron came to sound the death knell. No festival will be tolerated until mid-July, and the Avignon Festival, which is held precisely throughout the month of July, cannot escape the rule. In the process, the festival teams resolve to cancel in turn. Unsurprisingly, the resounding announcement leaves professionals on the stage unmoved.

A theater market

You should indeed know that in addition to the programming of "In", the official festival, the Avignon festival brings together hundreds and hundreds of professionals around the "Off" festival, a sort of huge market where live performance professionals come offer shows and theater programmers and other producers who sneak into the audience to buy the best plays to program in their establishments next month.

It is therefore an entire economy which is a little more fragile, and with them many professions in uncertainty, from actors to theater owners to the precious press officers. "The Avignon Festival provided 80% of our income for a young Parisian company like us," explains Olivier Schmitt, artistic director of the company Les joyeux de la Couronne. The only way for us to make money, to make profits, is to sell dates, and it is done 99% of the time during the Avignon festival, during which we do a real job of visibility. "



"A heavy blow" for the economy of Avignon

"We are very sad," says Aurélie Pisani, administrator of the Black Oak theater, one of the key theaters of the festival. This decision will have economic consequences. The festival represents 30% of our revenues, and ticketing, in good years, generates several thousand euros. But we will all suffer. It’s all Avignon that suffers! "

The cancellation of the Avignon festival is indeed a cataclysm for the local economic fabric. "This is obviously a big blow for our city," deplores the mayor of Avignon, Cécile Helle, in a press release. […] I fully appreciate what this cancellation means and represents for many of the economic players in our city whose activity depends greatly on the festival. I am thinking of course of tourism professionals, first of all hoteliers, managers of hotel residences and campsites, owners of guesthouses… But I also think of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops which run throughout the year. year our historic center and our neighborhoods. "



Restaurants "on the edge"

The city already experienced such a mishap in 2003, following a major social conflict. But the situation here is different, according to Patrice Mounier, the president of the Union of Trades and Hotel Industries of Vaucluse. "In 2003, despite the cancellation, there were people, who were not festival-goers, but who came to discover Avignon in the summer. We were there, in front of our establishments, waiting for the customer, so-so, but we were there. There, it will surely not be the case. "

And sigh: "This cancellation is an economic disaster that we dared not imagine. I received several calls from upwind hoteliers who received cancellation requests in disarray. Already that they have no cash, the deposit constituted the little available cash… I think that, unfortunately, the regional chamber of commerce and industry, which set up a special number, is going to have a lot of calls from people who feel on the brink. There are people who only count on it. The July recipe is so important! It can last six to eight months, and the rest is done a little with Easter, summer, the bridges. But Easter, summer, the bridges, given the situation, it's dead! "

"The city of Avignon will not be able to face this ordeal alone," warns Cécile Helle, who requests "exceptional assistance from the state and local authorities". Next Monday, an exceptional board of directors of the Avignon festival management association will meet to determine and discuss the cancellation plan. When contacted, the festival teams said they would not speak until after this crucial meeting.