The club used to host about 800,000 visitors a year, but it has been standing empty since the coronavirus lockdown in March.
Bill Heckle, one of the club’s directors, said it had lost £30,000 ($39,300) a week.
“We went five months before unfortunately we had to make about 20 people redundant. We think we might have to make another 20 redundant in the next few weeks,” Heckle told the BBC.
“We made a decision a few years ago to keep as much money in the bank as possible for a rainy day, not realizing it was going to be a thunderstorm. So, we were sitting on £1.4 million ($1.83 million) in the bank that has now been halved.”
The club is pinning its hopes on a bid to the U.K. government’s cultural recovery fund, a Liverpool City Council spokesperson said.
It going to stage virtual sets by bands from around the world later this month.
“We know we’re not going to make money,” Heckle said. “It’s about really reminding people we’re here and the sole aim is to get out the other side, I’m sure we will. But it is about survival.”
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said the “prospect of losing a national jewel like the Cavern is a horrible scenario.”
The Beatles first performed at the Cavern in 1961, featuring John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, with Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums. The band went on to perform at the club 292 times. Other big acts to have played at the club include The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and Adele.
The Cavern Club opened as a jazz venue in 1957. In 1973, the buildings above the venue were demolished, and the club was closed and filled in with rubble. It was later rebuilt using the original plans and many original bricks, and reopened in 1984.