While the United States continues to struggle with containing COVID-19, across the pond, England is gearing up to reopen indoor music venues next month part of its Phase 4 reopening plan.
On Friday, UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced “theaters, music halls and other venues” will be able to host indoor concerts starting Aug. 1, following a successful pilot program with the London Symphony. Audiences and performers are required to follow social distancing protocol that includes reduced capacity, limited ticket sales, increased deep cleaning of venues, use of e-tickets and socially distancing between “performers, conductors [and] musicians … wherever possible.”
“The UK’s performing arts sector is renowned across the world and I am pleased that we are making real progress in getting its doors reopened to the public with social distancing. From August indoor theaters, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country,” culture secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement.“This is a welcome step in the path to a return to normal and, coupled with our £1.57 billion rescue plan, will help secure the future of this important sector.”
Phase 5 of the reopening plan will include fuller audiences.
Earlier this month, England announced its first dedicated socially distanced music venue, The Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle. The outdoor venue follows a structure similar to drive-in concerts in the US and shows kick off on Aug. 14 with Craig Charles, Supergrass, the Libertines, Two Door Cinema Club, Maximo Park, Tom Grennan, Jason Manford and Bill Bailey all set to play.