Coronavirus update: Bath’s tourist venues go into lockdown and festivals are cancelled

March 20, 2020

Bath’s tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors – so vital to the city’s economy – are facing up to their toughest challenge ever as the coronavirus pandemic hits home.

The Bath & North East Somerset Council-run Roman Baths and Pump Rooms, Victoria Art Gallery, Assembly Rooms including The Fashion Museum and Bath Record Office closed yesterday until further notice. 

The council said the move was in line with advice from Public Health England. 

The closures could leave a gaping hole in the council’s finances as the venues, which make up the council’s heritage services, contributed £7.7m to the council’s coffers in 2017/18.

Annual events that bring in thousands of tourists have also been postponed, including Bath Comedy Festival, which this year promised 300 comedians across 170 events. It hopes to stage the festival in September.

Festival director Nick Steel said: “It is with much regret and sadness that we have taken the decision to postpone the 12th Bath Comedy Festival, but along with many other event organisations, we must honour our duty of care to audiences and performers alike.

“We worked incredibly hard to bring these amazing names to perform in our beautiful city and will be working even harder now to ensure we can still provide much needed entertainment to the city of Bath with a rescheduled event later this year.

“In these difficult times, comedy is more important than ever and we want to bring laughter back to this city as soon as possible. Our thoughts are with everyone who is being affected by this situation.”

The 2020 Beethoven weekend in March and The Bath Festival and The Bath Festival Finale Weekend in May will also not take place at that time; with the organisers saying individual events will either be rescheduled or cancelled.

A spokesperson said: “We have all been working hard for months to make the festival happen and it has been a very difficult decision to make. It is, of course, the only right one.

“We were all so looking forward to the wonderful programme we had lined up. The positive news is that we are now currently rescheduling a number of the festival events that will be focussed primarily around three weekends in the autumn creating The Bath Festival Season.  The weekends will be 11 – 13 September, 23 – 25 October and 6 – 8 November. The Bath Children’s Literature Festival will also go ahead, as planned, on 25 September – 4 October. 

“Our small team will be working around the clock with artists, venues and partners in the city to get plans in place for the rescheduled events and will be in a position to share more by no later than the end of April.

“At this time, we will also provide full information for current ticket holders of rescheduled and cancelled March and May events.”

The city’s hotels remain open but are taking emergency measures including giving staff special training and increasing cleaning of public areas.  However, the Center Parc resort at Longleat has been closed from today.

Bath BID (Business Improvement District) and the city’s destination marketing organisation Visit Bath are working in partnership with B&NES to ensure that they can support people working in the hospitality, leisure, catering and retail industry who may find themselves out of work due to the current virus situation.

They have been asked to get feedback from the industry to ascertain how many people are at risk of redundancy or loss of work. 

The anonymous survey that can be found here




Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across the Bath area for just £75 a month. Email for more information.