As Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that most of the remaining lockdown restrictions will be lifted from July 19, the UK live events industry is set to swing back into action, with some venues reopening for the first time in 16 months.

Amid concerns about rising Covid cases, venues will be keen to reassure audiences about their hygiene and safety measures as they begin to operate at full capacity. Broadway World spoke to Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatres (SOLT), about his thoughts on the full reopening of London’s vibrant cultural scene.

Bird commented: ‘As throughout the pandemic, the safety and confidence of our audiences and staff remains paramount. Theatres will continue to use our industry-wide See it Safely protocols, which have been updated and reissued following the changes in Government guidance for live events.

‘The majority of Covid safety measures will remain, including a strong recommendation of the use of face coverings, as advised by the Government,’ Bird added. Among the other continued safety measures will be enhanced cleaning routines, hand sanitiser stations, and modified routes around the building to avoid overcrowding.

Theatregoers will be encouraged to bring minimal possessions, and contactless ticketing will remain in place. A flexible ticket ‘Book with Confidence, Exchange with Ease’ pledge will allow exchanges to be made up to 24 hours ahead of the performance, if a ticket holder has Covid symptoms which are confirmed or suspected.

There will possibly be staggered arrival times, but compulsory temperature checking, restrictions on party size and bubble rules, socially distanced auditorium seating, and compulsory check-in via the NHS app will no longer be legal requirements.

However, some individual venues may choose to continue with some or all of the restrictions, so it is best to check on the venue website before booking tickets.

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