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31 July 2020, 13:06 | Updated: 31 July 2020, 13:11
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”.
PM has confirmed we cannot go ahead with some easings planned for 1st August - we are hoping for a postponement of a fortnight— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) July 31, 2020
This means bowling alleys, ice rinks, casinos cannot yet reopen and indoor performances cannot now go ahead from tomorrow
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.
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.