The Latest: theatres could reopen fully in November cover photo

The Latest: theatres could reopen fully in November

The Latest: theatres could reopen fully in November cover photo
Theatre updates COVID-19 avatar
Theatre updates COVID-19
7 September 2020 · Follow on Stagedoor

Yesterday government spokespeople made a series of encouraging statements to the press that suggest the government may reopen theatres without social distancing sooner than previously thought.

In an article in the Mail on Sunday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said that "mass indoor events are now in my sights" - stressing the importance of the sector to the wider economy.

The minister believes that the key to opening sooner rather than later lies with innovation - in particular, quick turnaround Covid-testing to enable large numbers of people to check if they're infected in the hours before attending a performance.

This new type of testing, which is being pioneered at Southampton University, is central to what the government is calling 'Operation Moonshot'. It is hoped that this new type of saliva test could allow up to 4 million people to receive tests each day and receive their results within minutes.

There are also reports that the Treasury is considering a subsidy for theatre tickets similar to the 'Eat Out To Help Out' programme it provided for the pub & restaurant sector. If this does happen there could be some very good ticket deals for theatre lovers over the coming months.

Just weeks ago the government indicated that there would be 'no guidance' about theatre without social distancing until November at the earliest, with many people in the industry worrying that we may all be waiting even longer. Yesterday's statements indicate that the government is now approaching the policy area with renewed urgency and optimism. Although this is an encouraging change in tone we have not had any firm policy commitments. With rates of infection rising across the UK in recent weeks, there is still much that remains uncertain.

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