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Double-vaccinated individuals won't need to self-isolate from 16 August if exposed to the virus

The news will alter, though not remove, the issues facing the theatre world

A lone individual in an auditorium

From 16 August, those who have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine will be exempt from track and trace quarantine rules – meaning they do not need to isolate for ten days.

As revealed by the new Health Secretary today, the plans mean that double-vaccinated individuals who are "pinged" or come into contact with someone who tests positive will not now have to stay at home for ten days. Double-vaccinated individuals who test positive for the virus, however, will still be required to isolate.

This may be slightly positive news for the theatre world, where these "pings" have caused shows to pull productions and lose money due to potential exposures.

Many continue to warn of the lasting impact of current isolation rules, particularly among the theatre sector, where one "ping" can mean a whole production is forced to close for days. This has been seen in the West End, at the Royal Court and beyond over the past couple of months.

Given the vast number of (especially young) individuals who have not yet had two doses, the retention of these rules for those who haven't yet had two shots of the vaccine may continue to cause severe disruption into September. This is unlikely to be a serene summer for the stage community.

Theatre organisations continue to push for some form of state-backed insurance to mitigate financial risks – so that if there are any positive cases, shows won't lose thousands of pounds.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister revealed plans to remove capacity restrictions and social distancing from auditoria, though the Track and Trace app will continue to be used.

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