Theatres will continue to expect patrons to wear face masks and recognise general Covid safety measures after legal restrictions are lifted, theatre bosses say.
UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre both say restrictions such as masks and enhanced cleaning will remain in their buildings, despite the announcement earlier this evening of the end of legal obligations after July 19. Public access to theatre stage doors will also be restricted.
Though UK Theatre has described July 19 as a turning point on the road to recovery, both main theatre organisations will continue to put audience confidence first.
"As we increase capacity, we want to ensure the positive audience sentiment remains.vWe hope audience members show respect for fellow theatregoers and staff by continuing to wear face coverings when coming into our venues," said a spokesman.
After next Monday, theatres within the control of these two organisations will drop demands for social distancing and restrictions on group and family “bubble” bookings. They will also drop compulsory temperature checks and checking-in, though some may continue to do so voluntarily.
But they will still undertake enhanced cleaning, sanitising stations, ask patrons to use masks, continue to organise one-way routes where possible, emphasise staggered arrival times and contactless ticketing, and offer exchanges up to 24 hours before a performance.
The relaxation won’t please all theatres and especially not tour producers, since regulations in the rest of the UK remain inconsistent. Restrictions will remain in Scotland at least until August 9; Wales will review measures this week and theatres in Northern Ireland will remain closed – though might be allowed to reopen at the end of this month, with social distancing.
Many producers continue to call for a government-backed insurance scheme.