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NEWS: Theatres could open in May but distancing rules are likely to remain until June at the earliest

Theatres will reopen subject to social distancing rules in May 2021, the Government has announced, but with no likelihood of operating at full capacity before late June at the earliest.

Prime minister Boris Johnson unveiled in Parliament today the Government’s four-step Roadmap for a staggered ending to the lockdown regime and a return to normal public life.

The initial easing of theatre restrictions comes into effect as part of Step 3, introduced no earlier than 17 May. These will permit indoor events of no more than 1,000 attendees or 50% capacity – dependent upon which is lower. This parallels the reopening plans for theatre originally mooted in December before the third lockdown period.

Outdoor events will be able to accommodate larger numbers, with a maximum of 4,000 people or 50% of capacity.

Step 4, which comes into effect on 21 June, will permit further relaxation of restrictions if these are supported by statistical proof that Covid rates are reducing satisfactorily, said the prime minister.

The premise is that fast lateral-flow testing measures would be in force to safely allow a return to normal allowances for audience capacity. However, if Step 4 does proceed on the planned date, it is by no means certain how quickly full reopening will come into force.

With a number of the largest musical shows due to open by June, producer concerns over costs and scheduling are likely to remain.

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from News, Reviews and Features – My Theatre Mates

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