Entertainment industry players have urged the government to not leave them in a lurch, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on.

Several business owners who have been badly affected by the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown measures, issued this plea at a press conference held yesterday.

U. Retnam, the spokesperson for the group said the industry players has had difficulties earning an income for almost a year now, and more businesses are collapsing as the clock ticks.

Among the requests the group had for the government were the extension of loan repayment moratorium for those affected, for another six months, tax waiver, and the lifting of the 'high-risk' borrower status given to them by most banks.

"This causes the banks to reject our applications for financing.

"We have exhausted our savings to pay off rentals, vendors and workers' salaries, and are now at wit's end," he said, adding that some business owners have resorted to selling off their equipments, such as power generators, in order to stay afloat.

Retnam also urged the government to consider loosening the SOPs (standard operating procedures) for events, which only allows for small numbers of people to attend a function.

"We (event organisers) have come up with our own formula (for SOP), which will allow a function to go on with social distancing, at the same time being economically viable.

"The other option that can be considered is staggered attendance at a function, which will not see big crowds turning up at the same time," he said, adding that it is mind-boggling that crowd activities such as night markets and futsal matches are allowed to happen, but events are prohibited from being held.

Retnam also lamented the fact that no allocation was given to the entertainment event industry players in Budget 2021.