The culture secretary Oliver Dowden has given the green light for outdoor performances to take place from 11 July, but the business events industry must wait longer for any certainty.
Addressing the nation from Downing Street, 9 July, minister Dowden said that as of this weekend, musicians and artists can perform live outside to an outdoor, socially distanced audience.
The minister said: “We won’t see crowds flooding into venues, but from 11 July theatres, opera houses, dance venues and music venues can put on performances for socially distanced audiences.”
Minister Dowden did however hint that events will require electronic ticketing, which he noted will help to track and trace visitors, something that the business events industry has been championing during the Covid-19 crisis, and through pre-registration is a standard component of any conference or exhibition already.
“We are taking various measures to make these places safe before they reopen,” he said. Adding that “venue capacity will be reduced, and organisations will be encouraged to move to electronic ticketing to help test and trace.”
The minister also said that the Government, together with Public Health England, would be piloting a number of indoor events, such as the London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s and Butlin’s [holiday park]. “We will work out how we can confidentially usher socially distanced audiences indoors as soon as possible,” he said.
“At the same time, we are investigating the specific scientific risks of transmission for things such as singing,” added Dowden.
The final nugget of hope offered by the minister suggested added protection would be in place for venues facing financial hardship. While it was not clear if these measures are aimed solely at cultural venues, the fragmented nature of the events industry would likely mean most venues could be protected.
Minister Dowden said: “We are also working to protect theatres and venues from demolition and change of use. We want to open all of our venues when it is safe to do so, and today’s announcement brings us a further step closer to that reality.”