Indoor concerts with a live audience postponed for a fortnight, says PM

31 July 2020, 13:06 | Updated: 31 July 2020, 13:11

Indoor concerts with a live audience cannot yet happen
Indoor concerts with a live audience cannot yet happen. Picture: Getty

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Openings of theatres and concert halls with a live audience, previously slated for 1 August, have been delayed by at least a fortnight.

Just a day before indoor performances with a live audience were expected to be allowed to resume, the PM has postponed the relaxed restrictions until 15 August.

Indoor performances with a live audience, which were slated to return tomorrow, 1 August, cannot yet happen.

Boris Johnson made the announcement in a Downing Street briefing today, 31 July, following a rise in coronavirus infections. It comes as millions in northern England face new restrictions after a spike in cases.

“We must squeeze the brakes” on the virus, the PM said.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden added the government is “hoping for a postponement of a fortnight”.

Read more: Here’s how the £1.57bn emergency arts fund will be distributed >

The PM added people in England should wear face coverings in museums, galleries and cinemas from 8 August. He encouraged people to wash their hands and get tested if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.

The reopening of bowling alleys, casinos and weddings of up to 30 people have also been delayed until 15 August.

Read more: Andrew Lloyd Webber says ‘Theatres can’t run with social distancing’ >

Currently, rehearsals and performances with no audience are allowed in England, as long as artists, organisations and venues are COVID-secure and complying with the latest general work guidance on coronavirus.

Performances with socially distanced, reduced audiences can take place outdoors.

The PM reiterated that any easing of restrictions is “conditional” on the continued suppression of coronavirus.