Audiences adhering to social distancing will be able to return to indoor theatres, music and performance venues from 1 August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced today.
The announcement marks a major step in getting the arts and cultural sectors fully back up and running, and follows the government’s announcement of £1.57 billion of funding for the arts, culture and heritage sector earlier this month, the biggest ever one off investment in these industries.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with the sector on pilots of performances with socially distanced audiences that will inform final guidance for venues in the run up to August 1. These include the London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s, London with a variety of further events in the coming weeks.
This announcement marks the move to stage 4 of the government’s 5-stage roadmap for the return of professional performing arts. Under the new regime, audiences, performers and venues will be expected to maintain social distancing at all times.
Guidance for the performing arts, published earlier this month, also sets out further measures to support the safe return of audiences, including:
- Reduced venue capacity and limited ticket sales to ensure social distancing can be maintained
- Tickets will be purchased online and venues encouraged to use e-tickets to reduce contact and help with track and trace
- Venues should have clearly communicated social distancing marking in place in areas where queues form and adopt a limited entry approach
- Increased deep cleaning of auditoriums
- Performances should be scheduled to allow sufficient time to undertake deep cleaning before the next audience arrives
- Performers, conductors, musicians must observe social distancing wherever possible
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
The UK’s performing arts sector is renowned across the world and I am pleased that we are making real progress in getting its doors reopened to the public with social distancing. From August indoor theatres, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country.
This is a welcome step in the path to a return to normal and, coupled with our £1.57 billion rescue package, will help secure the future of this important sector.