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New tiers in England – further parts of the country move to tougher or lighter restrictions

The news could mean some venues have the chance to open, while others will either have to remain closed or close from Saturday

A number of audience members

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has stated that some areas of England will alter their tier restrictions.

Under tiers one and two (deemed medium and high risk respectively), theatres will be able to reopen with social distancing and capacity restrictions in place to mitigate risks. Tier three will mean venues will have to remain closed. You can find out more about what each tier means here.

Those living in tier three are also told to "avoid" travelling into tier one and two areas, under new rules. The capital, Essex and more recently entered tier three.

Announced today, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Hastings and Rother, Portsmouth, Gosport, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, the majority of Surrey, Havant, and Hampshire will all move to tier three.

Bristol and North Somerset will move down to tier two from tier three. Herefordshire will be brought down to tier one. These changes will take effect from one minute past midnight on Saturday morning.

Hancock said: "With the vaccine already here we must be cautious while we roll out the vaccine...we are not quite there yet".

"The vast majority" of places in tier three will remain so for the time being. Greater Manchester, Warwickshire and large parts of the Midlands will remain as they were, scuppering plans for a variety of shows including Six the Musical's tour run, hoping to begin at The Lowry this side of Christmas.

Venues in the north such as Leeds Playhouse or Blackpool Grand will also be dismayed by the news – having hoped to stage shows if their areas moved down to tier two.

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