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UK Government Postpones Full Re-Opening of West End Theatres; SOLT & UK Theatre Release Statement

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The UK government has proposed a four-week delay to the full reopening of live entertainment venues.

UK Government Postpones Full Re-Opening of West End Theatres; SOLT & UK Theatre Release Statement

Earlier today, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that it will be a bit longer than expected before West End theatres are able to fully re-open. While lockdown rules were previously set to lift on June 21, the next phase will now be delayed by four weeks to July 19, due to the surge of Delta variant cases in the UK.

The delay means that theatres will not be able to re-open at full capacity for at least another month.

In response, SOLT & UK Theatre Chief Executive Julian Bird has released the following statement:

The proposed four-week delay to full reopening of live entertainment venues will have serious implications for many theatres and performing companies around the country.

'This delay not only impacts productions and theatres preparing to open in the next few weeks, but also shows currently running socially distanced, which had planned to increase their capacity - and producers making the difficult decision whether to start rehearsals for shows due to open in late July or August, with thousands of jobs hanging in the balance.

'Particularly at risk are large-scale commercial productions, which have received little or no Cultural Recovery Fund support and cannot survive under social distancing.

'We urge Government to consider greater support for affected theatre organisations, by offering a tailored insurance scheme, allocating the remainder of the Cultural Recovery Fund, and extending full furlough and the Business Rates holiday.

'Once theatres are given the go-ahead to fully return, we will continue to implement industry-wide 'See It Safely' measures including enhanced cleaning, one-way systems, contactless ticketing and security, and the wearing of masks if required.

'The safety of theatre audiences and staff is our top priority, and we want everyone to be confident to return to full houses on the basis of the latest scientific data. We need Government to confirm as soon as possible that restrictions will be lifted by 19 July - a clear, irreversible reopening date will boost audience confidence at a time when it is vital theatre fans support the industry they love.'


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