Theatre News

'Vaccine passports' won't be needed for socially distanced events from next month, Johnson confirms

The Prime Minister confirmed the news

Shaftesbury Avenue
Shaftesbury Avenue

Speaking today on national television, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that Covid status certification, often dubbed "vaccine passports", will not be necessary for socially distanced events.

Chatting on live TV, Johnson stated that any venue with an event taking place with risk mitigation measures (eg reduced capacity and spaced audiences) would not need to ask audiences to provide any certification in order to gain entry, saying that these passports "won't be necessary" before June at the earliest.

Looking further ahead however, in a government roadmap review published today, it was stated that "COVID-status certification is likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes", with other countries already introducing such forms of documentation for events and travel. While emphasising that this would be a temporary measure, the report also explicitly stated that certification "potentially play a role in settings such as theatres, nightclubs, and mass events such as festivals or sports events to help manage risks where large numbers of people are brought together in close proximity."

For stage shows without social distancing (expected to be reintroduced from 21 June) current reports suggest that a mobile app will state whether or not a potential spectator has had a recent negative test, a Covid jab or a positive Covid-19 test in the last six months (the latter implying that they've subsequently built up a form of immunity). This app will therefore allow users to enter venues for shows without having to distance from others.

Any concrete plans are likely to be unveiled in the coming month or two, dependent on the success of pilot events.

The government has provided further detail on the list of initiatives taking place that will pilot risk mitigation measures without social distancing. No theatre performance features on the list, though the World Snooker Championship will be taking place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. The government has confirmed that "further events may be announced in due course…[with] a second phase of pilots will take place from the end of May"

The Prime Minister has also confirmed that step two of the government's roadmap out of lockdown will be enacted as planned on 12 April, with drive-in performances set to go ahead.

According to the report: "Early pilots will focus on demonstrating COVID-status through testing alone, while later pilots will seek to incorporate data on vaccination and acquired immunity."

Johnson also emphasised the important role of testing in getting the virus rates down as far as possible.

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