U.K.’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced Friday that indoor concerts can resume in the country beginning August 1st as long as audiences adhere to social distancing protocols.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture secretary Oliver Dowden announced that, as part of Phase 4 of England’s COVID-19 reopening plans, “theaters, music halls and other venues” can allow for indoor audiences following a successful pilot program at the London Symphony.
“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 theaters, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country,” Dowden said in a statement.
“This is a welcome step in the path to a return to normal and, coupled with our £1.57 billion rescue plan.”
From 1 August socially distanced audiences can return for indoor performances in theatres, music halls and other venues. This builds on pilots with @londonsymphony and others. So pleased to make progress to Stage 4 of our road map for culture. pic.twitter.com/Js7dQUghZ6
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) July 17, 2020
Among the mandates for indoor venues reopening are reduced capacity and limited ticket sales to ensure social distancing requirement are met, increased deep cleaning of venues, use of e-tickets and “performers, conductors, musicians must observe social distancing wherever possible.”
The culture department added that venues can allow for fuller audiences upon Phase 5 of the reopening plan.
The plan to reopen indoor venues in the U.K. follows the announcement of the world’s “first dedicated socially distanced music venue” in Newcastle, England, with Supergrass, the Libertines and Two Door Cinema Club booked to play the racetrack-sized outdoor arena in August.
“During the time of lockdown, we’ve been presented with a number of different ideas and solutions, and some were rubbish, some were OK, some are well thought through,” Libertines manager Dave Bianchi told Rolling Stone.
“In the instance of the gigs we’re doing at Newcastle, they look very well-organized and well thought through. As long as people are actually making money, money is a lesser issue than if these shows will be any good or not. I don’t know because we haven’t seen it yet. I quite liked the idea of having separate little stages, but it still could be that the atmosphere is pretty weird for both the audience and artist. But this particular proposition is the best one I’ve seen.”