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Coronavirus: Theatres and music venues to reopen in England

Concert venues and theatres will welcome audiences back from Saturday (15 August). Photo: Rob Laughter/Unsplash

Socially distanced indoor performances, such as plays and concerts, will go ahead in the UK from Saturday (15 August).

Prime minister Boris Johnson has given the green light for Brits to attend select, small indoor events, after they were delayed from last month.

The UK government previously planned to implement this change in July, but held off after a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Venues will begin welcoming back guests from Saturday, except in high-risk regions where additional safety measures have been implemented, such as Manchester.

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However, shows will have limited capacity audiences, as part of a “phased return,” the government said.

If all goes well, Brits would be able to attend indoor and outdoor performances, including sporting events, with bigger crowds by October.

This follows a “successful series of pilots” that tested the safe return of audiences, the government said.

These include a sold-out performance by soul singer Beverley Knight at the London Palladium theatre.

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While some venues have criticised that socially-distanced performances is not a sustainable financial model for the industry, others had already been planning shows before the delays last month.

“The nation’s hard work to keep the virus under control means we can now make further careful progress on recovery with allowing audiences back for indoor performances, fans back at sports events and the reopening of more COVID-19 secure leisure businesses,” said culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

“We must all continue to stay alert, but today’s welcome news means these organisations can finally get going safely, and we can enjoy more of the things we love as a nation.

“I have no doubt that they will work incredibly hard to keep their fans, patrons and customers safe.”

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