As vaccinations continue to rise and lockdown restrictions across the country begin to ease, the future for music venues is looking up. However, it may be at least three weeks before any change is due across the United Kingdom.
Here is our ultimate guide to when venues are reopening, and the changes we will see for each.
England’s roadmap has the most detailed information for what we can expect to see in when venues reopen. The date for which is currently 17th May, but this is subject to review.
When entertainment venues do reopen, the government outlines that the ‘rule of six’ will still apply: this means that events may be attended by six people from multiple households or any sized group from only two households. Live performances will be permitted but capacity constraints will be in place to ensure audience members are able to remain socially distanced. The government guidance states that attendance at events will be restricted to 50% of capacity for indoor events up to 1,000 people and for outdoor events up to 4,000. Larger outdoor events with a seating capacity of over 16,000 may apply a 25% capacity cap, allowing a maximum of 10,000 seated audience members.
These events can only be organised and carried out legally if they comply with COVID-Secure guidance. The government website states that for performing arts and entertainment, this means social distancing and masks for both staff and audience members. Performers are allowed to remove their masks during rehearsals and performance, but masks must be worn when not actively working.
The welsh alert level system outlines that entertainment venues cannot open until the country is in alert level two. The current restrictions are reflective of the transition from alert level four into level three, which should bring the country into level three on 3rd May. Wales, along with the rest of the UK, is planning on moving to level two on 17th May.
Little is known about the Welsh response to venues reopening but looking at the responses of the rest of the UK and how Wales managed performances late last year, masks and social distancing will become a staple. This may also mean changes to capacity for venues, although the Welsh government is yet to issue guidance on this.
Scotland also uses a level system; currently mainland Scotland and some islands are at level four, the maximum, and some smaller islands are at level three. The coronavirus framework indicates that entertainment venues can reopen at level 2, which, like the rest of the UK, is set to be 17th May, vaccination data pending.
Scotland will also be implementing capacity changes for events; indoor events will be limited to 100 people, outdoor events with seating will be limited to 500 and outdoor events with a standing audience will be capped at 250 people. This is subject to the ability for social distancing, meaning smaller venues may have to impose a smaller capacity. Indoor hospitality venues can only be open until 22:30 so it may be that some venues have this time constraint.
- England, Wales and Scotland are aiming for a reopening of venues on May 17th – this may be subject to change depending on the efficacy of their vaccination programmes
- All countries will require masks and social distancing when they reopen with each implementing capacity changes to ensure audiences are able to distance.