England has today reintroduced mandatory face coverings on public transport and in shops due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the new Omicron variant, however no further restrictions have been placed on cultural venues, hospitality and night clubs to the relief of the chief executive of Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced new restrictions for travelling – with those arriving in the UK needing to take a PCR test, more countries added to the red list and the reintroduction of wearing face masks, no further restrictions have been placed on hospitality, night clubs and venues.
Stricter rules around self isolating have also been brought back even if a person is fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
Chief executive of the NTIA Michael Kill said: “The reported detection of the new variant in the UK is hugely concerning.
“We are encouraged by the Government’s decision not to mitigate against hospitality and night time economy settings, with the additional measures presented by the PM, including wearing masks within shops and on public transport in England, coupled with more stringent border controls for visitors entering the country as a first response.”
Kill added: “Although somewhat tentative about the coming weeks, need to be clear that the sector is still extremely fragile and will not survive further trade-inhibiting restrictions or a potential lockdown.”
However, some theatres have asked their own visitors to wear face masks while attending shows.
The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced it will make face coverings mandatory to make sure its staff and visitors are in a safe and comfortable environment. Masks will be required during performances – with those exempt not having to wear a mask – but can be taken off to eat and drink.
The producers of the musical Moulin Rouge! also made masks mandatory to watch the show.
Kill said: “The current baseline mitigation within businesses across this industry has been extremely effective. Coupled with the vaccination programme we must remain confident that we are in a stronger position to deal with variants than many other countries across the world.”