Live indoor performances in England, which were due to start re-opening with social distancing from 1st August, have been delayed until "at least" 15th August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced. Organisations preparing from tomorrow to welcome audiences for the first time since the start of the lockdown have been told to cancel their events, and no indoor performances scheduled during the next two weeks will take place. Trials of large-scale events, which were due to be tested to assess their safety, will also be cancelled.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that it will be November at the earliest before the government announces a date for performance venues to reopen without social distancing.
Whilst musuems and galleries are not being forced to close, the law is being changed to make it compulsory for visitors to wear face masks in these settings and in cinemas. This ruling will be enforcable in law from 8th August.
Jon Morgan, director of Theatres Trust, commented: "It is disappointing that socially-distanced indoor performances will not be able to go ahead tomorrow. However in reality the majority of theatres were not planning to reopen for shows tomorrow so a two week delay will not make a huge difference. Most theatres will not be able to put on productions until we reach Stage 5, which allows fuller audiences, so that is the most critical date for much of the sector."