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Culture Minister says theatres will re-open 'very shortly' once safety measures are tested

MP Caroline Dinenage has elaborated on the government's plan for reopening

Caroline Dinenage
© Parliament (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

The government's culture minister Caroline Dinenage has elaborated on the plan to re-open venues.

While outdoor theatres have been able to begin socially distanced performances this weekend, indoor shows have not been given an official return date. Last week Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden stated that tests are ongoing to check safety procedures and social distancing measures for indoor performances.

Dinenage, speaking on Sky News, has now elaborated on this point: "We very shortly want to be able to announce theatres indoors but with social distancing and we're working on a few pilots which we announced yesterday which will hopefully enable us to do that."

Agreeing with many within the industry, Dinenage said: "Obviously the silver bullet for the theatres will be being able to open without any form of social distancing but we just need to wait until the scientific guidance assures us that that is safe."

She added: "We've always taken a slow a very slow and methodical, an iterative approach. We always look at the scientific data, we know that the infection rate is coming down and the test and trace system is working really well.

"But activities are more risky than others and we need to balance that risk, against the risk to public health and the economy of keeping things shut, and that's why we're taking this very slow and steady approach, opening things bit by bit as and when the data suggests that it safe to do so."

On Thursday, Shakespeare's Globe confirmed it would not be able to reopen while social distancing measures were in place, stating that this would not be 'economically viable'.

A week ago the UK government unveiled a warmly-received £1.57bn package to prop up the arts sector during the pandemic, though how and when these funds are to be distributed is currently unknown.

Read the Government's new performance guidelines for socially distanced shows

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