Live audiences will be allowed to return to events held indoors, including concerts and theatre performances, according to an announcement this week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The shift is part of a larger shift in lockdown rules in the country, which is seeking to give greater authority to local leadership over the continued mitigation plan related to the coronavirus outbreak.
August 1st is the date Johnson laid out as the first for fans to return, assuming success in a pilot program going on now led by the London Symphony.
“From 1 August socially distanced audiences can return for indoor performances in theatres, music halls, and other venues,” culture minister Oliver Dowden tweeted. “This builds on pilots with @Londonsymphony and others. So pleased to make progress to Stage 4 of our road map for culture.”
The UK had already allowed socially distanced outdoor concerts to return this month, beginning July 11. The nation currently sits in stage 3 of its reopening plan, having kept its coronavirus case numbers largely flat since coming off its initial peak of positive test results in late April and early May. Nearly 300,000 total cases have been recorded, but average daily cases have been below 1,000 since June 24 and are down to 584 as of Friday, per worldometers.info.
At the moment, rehearsals and audience-free performances are allowed indoors, with safety restrictions in place for performers.
Johnson’s government has expressed its hope that continued adherence to rules and a steady reopening will continue through November, at which point the country would be able to fully reopen, including large-scale events with regular crowds.