The United Kingdom has been under a hard lockdown for the past four months, with just a short break during the Christmas period. Today British Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a four-stage plan to gradually return the country to pre-COVID levels of social interaction. The two key stages for the live entertainment industry are steps three and four.
UK theatres and cinemas will reopen without restrictions. Interestingly, indoor sports venues will reopen for audiences of up to 4,000 or 50 percent capacity, whichever is lower, and large outdoor arenas where fans are seated and can be spread out, will have a limit of 10,000 attendees, or one quarter capacity, whichever is lower. It is not clear if this stage of the roadmap will apply to live entertainment held in a sporting arena.
All limits on social gatherings will be removed, large events will be allowed, and venues such as nightclubs will reopen.
There are caveats to these steps. For example, if certain transmission targets are not met or yet another variant emerges and does not respond to currently available vaccines, each stage can be suspended. Still, the news comes on the heels of promising news that both the Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccines are 85% and 76% effective after just one dose, and the U.K vaccination program has reached more than 17 million people so far, averaging more than half a million a day.
The UK shares a vaccination target with the United States for all adults to be vaccinated by July 31, potentially paving the way for late summer concerts and festivals. It is also likely that, to begin with at least, event goers will be required to provide an on-site negative COVID test, wear a mask, or both.