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UK venues including National Theatre, RSC and the Old Vic introduce mandatory face coverings

New rules for select theatres

RSC, National Theatre and the Old Vic

A plethora of venues across the UK have made their own decision around mask wearing.

While masks are not currently mandatory (though actively encouraged) in UK theatres, many venues have issued their own rules and guidance for audience members. Yesterday stronger face covering rules were introduced in shops and public transport.

Thus far the ENO, the RSC, the National Theatre, Curve in Leicester, the Old Vic and the Royal Opera House have all said that masks will be mandatory whenever spectators are attending shows.

RSC executive director Catherine Mallyon said: "We have taken this decision in light of feedback from audiences, staff and our acting company, and in response to new government guidelines introduced. Our priority is creating the safest and most comfortable environment for people to work in and visit, and we want to do all we can to ensure that we do not have to cancel performances and disappoint our audiences.

"Our ventilation systems, especially within the Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium are extremely effective, so audiences should feel confident in coming to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. We have thousands of people due to come to see The Magician's Elephant over the coming weeks, or visiting our shop, restaurant and café, and we are looking forward to welcoming them."

The National said in a statement: "We've taken this decision in light of recent Government advice about Covid. We believe it's a sensible additional measure that will help to keep everyone safe at this time – audiences, artists and staff.

"Face coverings must be worn throughout your visit to the building, including during performances, apart from when eating and drinking. The only exceptions are for people who are exempt from wearing face coverings and visitors aged under 12. That means if you're not exempt, we can't admit you to the building unless you wear a face covering.

"The requirement to wear face coverings will be in place until at least 19 December 2021 when the next Government review of Covid measures is due."

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