LUSU announce Sugarhouse will pause operations until September 2021

‘The Sugarhouse is unable to meet its running costs due to the social distancing requirements.’

On the 7th of October Lancaster University Students’ Union announced that it had no choice but to suspend operations of its Sugarhouse venue due to the impacts of COVID-19, this decision was made effective immediately.

LUSU trialled a reopening of the venue in Welcome Week. This trial included table service and a significantly reduced maximum capacity in line with government restrictions.

However, demand for post-pandemic Sugarhouse tickets was lower than the Student’s Union had hoped, which led to the venue operating at a loss.

With COVID-19 restrictions showing no signs of being loosened in the near future, the venue has found it impossible to maintain service in a financially sustainable way. The Union’s Trustee Board took the decision to close the Sugarhouse in the short-term in order to ensure that the venue could re-open and serve students in the future.

In a statement on the LUSU website, the Union claimed that they will “work to resume operations at the Sugarhouse at a future date” once restrictions are more relaxed, it is highly unlikely that the venue will become financially viable “earlier than September 2021.”

VP Union Development Atree Ghosh is aware that “this decision will come as a shock to Lancaster students” but the Sugarhouse is facing issues “in common with many other hospitality and entertainment businesses” as it is “unable to meet its running costs due to the social distancing requirements.”

It is a decision which the he “hoped [they] would not have to take” but one that seemed necessary due to the Trustee Board being “responsible for the financial stability of the Union.” Sugarhouse staff were thanked for their hard work and dedication in trying to get the venue to reopen successfully “under incredibly challenging circumstances.”

The Union President Oliver Robinson still maintained that “the Sugarhouse is not for sale” and that the Union’s aims are to ensure that “this important part of Lancaster life is still here for students as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The statement concludes by pointing out that all tickets sold for events this term have been refunded in full.

Lancaster University Students’ Union’s full statement can be found here.

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