Lockdown in England: "Large" live events could be allowed from June 21

Boris Johnson has announced England's roadmap out of lockdown, with the plan to "remove all legal limits on social contact" from June 21.

Lockdown in England: "Large" live events could be allowed from June 21
Jenn Five

Boris Johnson has announced that large live events could begin taking place in England from June 21 – when the roadmap out of lockdown hopefully reaches its fourth step and legal limits on social contact will be removed.

Almost all coronavirus restrictions could be lifted in June, the prime minister has confirmed in a new statement, with a four-step roadmap detailing how the current lockdown is set to ease. "I know there will be many people who will be worried that we are being too ambitious and that it is arrogant to impose any kind of plan on a virus," he says (via BBC). "I agree that we must always be humble in the face of nature.

"…A wretched year will give way to a spring and a summer that will be very different and incomparably better than the picture we see around us today."

There are a minimum of five weeks between each of these four 'steps', with the first wave of changes coming on March 8 when students go back to schools and people can meet one other person outside their house for recreation. Then, on March 29 outdoor gatherings of up to six people/two households will be allowed and outdoor sports can resume.

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If government tests are met, on May 17 at the earliest big events and sports stadiums can reopen with capacity limits – up to 10,000 attendees should be allowed in outdoor spaces where there is the option to spread out, or up to 4,000 people, or 50 per cent capacity in stadiums; indoor events will be allowed up to 1,000 people or 50 per cent capacity (whichever is smaller for both outdoors and indoors).

By June 21, the government hope to lift all restrictions on social contact, with large events and performances finally allowed in full.

"It is good to hear the government provide conditions under which initially socially distanced events, and then fuller capacity events, can take place," says Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust. "Based on this information, it is now possible to imagine how we Revive Live in grassroots music venues and develop that work into the full return of our domestic music scene. We note that this road map once again singles out live performance events as a specific risk which require that the sector is treated in a special way.

"Since March 2020, we have made the case to the government that if this is the case, based on their interpretation of the data, then it is logical that the government will choose to address that specific status with sector specific financial support to mitigate the damage being done to businesses and people's lives, careers and families right across the live music industry. In light of today's announcements, the budget next week must clearly lay out exactly how the government is going to provide that sector specific support. We warmly welcome the Government's acknowledgement of the value of nightlife, committing to not reinstating a curfew and including nightclubs within the reopening timetable."

"While the Prime Minister's statement offers some green shoots of hope for live music, there is some way to go before we return to pre-pandemic levels of activity," adds David Martin, CEO Featured Artists Coalition. "A cautious approach is right to protect lives and reopening too early would be counter intuitive for the industry's long-term outlook. However, the Government must adhere to its own advice, allowing data to guide decision making, so that we can return immediately when it is safe to do so.”

"Ahead of full reopening, Government has to learn from previous mistakes and listen to the industry. Last year's slow response on income support and other financial assistance led to the closure of businesses and the loss of livelihoods. Today's statement must be accompanied with comprehensive financial support for individuals plus insurance and businesses support measures, including an extension to the reduced VAT rate on event tickets. This will allow the music industry to bounce back effectively and contribute its full potential to the UK's economic recovery.”

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