Business events have been given a go-date in England, while Barcelona cinemas have been forced to close again…

Conferences

Conferences and exhibitions will be permitted in England from October 1, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.

Several conference venues, including ExCeL London, the NEC, Harrogate Convention Centre and Manchester Central, will remain as Nightingale hospitals until the end of March 2021.

Johnson said: “From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadia and to allow conferences and other business events to recommence – again, these changes must be done in a Covid Secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”

Simon Hughes, chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership said that while the announcement will provide some relief for the industry, it will require “significant support” going forward.

He said: “After several months of lobbying, and providing significant amounts of evidence and research to government, and working closely in partnership with our colleagues at DCMS, we are delighted that today the prime minister has finally announced a Go Date of 1 October for the recommencement of business events and exhibitions, subject to the successful completion of some pilot events.

“While this news will come as a great relief to the entire events industry, we are still conscious that the sector will require significant support going forward, as it looks to rebuild and renew, and we will continue to engage with government to look at practical ways to ensure that our world class industry continues to thrive and support the UK’s overall recovery over the years to come.”

New Theatre

New Theatre in Peterborough has teamed up with Spektrix to keep groups socially distanced for its new film screening series, Cinema 100.

By implementing new functionality from Spektrix, the venue can ensure that customers book seats for their group size.

The New Theatre’s full capacity is 1,079 and the new plan allows for 242, plus or minus a few depending on group sizes.

The venue will allocating arrival times and ‘zone’ numbers so that front of house staff can manage the operation with ease.

Barcelona

Barcelona cinemas have been forced to close again after briefly reopening due to a stay-at-home announcement.

The mandated shutdown comes after a month of screenings, which restarted again on June 26 after being closed for more than three months due to COVID-19

Some 267 cinema screens at 28 theatres will be impacted by the move.

Camilo Tarrazón, president of the Catalan Exhibitors Union, told Variety that the closures is a “disaster,” adding that it could dissuade distributors’ from opening their bigger titles.

He said the shutdown “sends out signals that cinema theaters are not safe when they have scrupulously implemented safety measures, and other forms of leisure that do risk contagion – street parties, for instance – continue in Barcelona.”