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Venues set to reopen in full, PM confirms

Capacity limits on theatres, stadiums, arenas and clubs in England are to end under plans outlined by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

A final decision on the date when the country will enter Step 4 will be confirmed next Monday, but the Government has now confirmed that restrictions on social distancing, capacity restrictions and mask-wearing will end. It is expected that Step 4 will begin on July 19.

Indoor and outdoor venues will be able to open in full for the first time since March 2020, with legal capacity limits and the 1m+ distancing rule to end. There will also be no necessity to wear face masks, although people will be advised to do so in busy environments such as public transport.

COVID certification to attend events will not be legally required, although Prime Minister Johnson said some businesses may voluntarily decide to collect such information. Test and Trace will no longer be in operation, meaning venues do not need to collect attendance data for each visitor.

These new policies are in line with Step 4 in the government’s roadmap to reopening, which was originally scheduled for June 21 but was pushed back following an increase in case numbers amid the Delta variant.

Prime Minister Johnson said the country is now ready to enter Step 4 as data collected in recent weeks has confirmed that while case numbers are rising, the vaccination rollout has broken the link between cases and deaths.

Speaking ahead of the announcement, Greg Parmley, chief executive of the LIVE group said: “We welcome the positive noises coming from Government around reopening. As an industry that has been closed since the start of the pandemic, we are thrilled at the prospect of welcoming live music fans back through our doors.

“But the last year has taught us that nothing can be taken for granted. If the Government wants the industry to bounce back and help the economy recover, they need to provide a government-backed insurance scheme to give organisers the confidence and security they still desperately need.”

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