A plethora of rules will be removed when English theatres hit step four in the roadmap to reopening, in line with SOLT and UK Theatre guidance.
The majority of Covid safety measures will remain, including a strong recommendation of the use of face coverings, as advised by the Government. Venues may also explore using the NHS Covid Pass app – as mentioned here.
SOLT and UK Theatre chief executive Julian Bird said: "The thousands of people who have already come back to the theatre since 17 May have been overwhelmingly positive about their experience and how safe and comfortable they felt. As we increase capacity, we want to ensure that this positive audience sentiment remains. For this reason, we hope audience members show respect for fellow theatregoers and staff by continuing to wear face coverings when coming into our venues and moving around them."
The following measures will remain in place:
– Enhanced cleaning and sanitisation stations
– Face coverings strongly encouraged
– Modified routes to avoid overcrowding
– Contactless ticketing and staggered arrival times
– Removal of stage door activities
– Exchange rules to help bookers adjust dates in the event of a positive test or need to isolate
From 19 July, a number of measures will be removed including:
– Restrictions on party size
– Socially distanced auditoria (though some may maintain these for performances)
– Capacity restrictions (venues are currently capped at either 50 per cent or 1000 spectators, whichever is lower)
– Compulsory temperature checks (some venues may maintain this)
– Compulsory check-ins via the NHS app
The government will unveil further guidance over the coming days to elaborate on these plans.
Eleanor Lloyd, President of SOLT, said: "Producers want to get our industry back on its feet, creating employment and entertaining audiences across the country – but we are doing so under debilitating self-isolation rules and still without the protection of cancellation insurance. This is not a sustainable situation, especially as the safety net of the Culture Recovery Fund continues to leave many productions ineligible for support."
Producers continue to plea for an "alternative to automatic self-isolation for casts and crew after contact with a positive Covid case, allowing workers to test themselves out of isolation rather than potentially shutting down an entire production", according to the SOLT guidance.