Theatre News

UK government releases guidance and further information for pilot events without distancing

This might be a glimpse at what events without social distancing might look like

Sheffield Theatres
Sheffield Theatres
© Craig Fleming

Further information has been revealed about the pilot events being launched later this month to see how performances can go ahead without social distancing.

The programme is overseen by an industry-led steering group co-chaired by Nicholas Hytner and David Ross, and will see a plethora of activities including a comedy gig, a corporate event and the Snooker World Championships (at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield) demo-ing practical ways to reopen venues safely.

The government says that the pilots will "explore how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols could ease opening and maximise participation" – in effect allowing events to go ahead with maximum capacity, which would provide viability for a lot of theatre shows.

According to the guidance, audiences at the pilot events "may still be required to wear face coverings", though this is not guaranteed. Attendees will also "be subject to scientifically and ethically designed pre- and post-event monitoring", though the guidance does not specify what form of monitoring may be in place.

To attend events, spectators will have to produce a negative lateral flow test either on the day or the day before the pilot. Testing will be through "the existing community testing network". Furthermore, attendees will also have to take pre- and post-pilot home PCR Covid test, to verify possible transmission.

The guidance does not make specific reference to "Covid status certification", though this was mentioned in previous government correspondence regarding the pilots.