Comedy clubs can reopen from tomorrow | ...though when they ACTUALLY will is still a moot point

Comedy clubs can reopen from tomorrow

...though when they ACTUALLY will is still a moot point

Indoor comedy clubs can reopen from tomorrow, Boris Johnson has announced.

The Prime Minister’s move allows all performance venues in England to reopen with socially distanced audiences.

However, the last-minute nature of the announcement, and the difficulty in making business viable with vastly reduced customer numbers, is likely to limit the number of venues reopening imminently.

The relaxation of lockdown rules to so-called ‘stage four’ on the government’s roadmap to restart performing arts had initially been due to come into force on August 1.  But that was scrapped with just a few hours’ notice – with Johnson blaming soaring coronavirus transmission – throwing struggling clubs into further chaos.

This reopening of venues across the sector follows a successful series of pilots, including trial gigs at the Frog and Bucket in Manchester and Just The Tonic in Nottingham.

The Frog had hoped to resume operations on Monday with its regular new act challenge, Beat The Frog – but the city is under local lockdown restrictions that prohibit this.

Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatres and UK Theatre, said he was ‘delighted’ at the news.

He added: ‘This is a step further to full reopening and will help those theatres who have already made innovative plans to open.  Theatre wants to take its place alongside restaurants, galleries, museums and cinemas in being a major contributor to the economic and social recovery of the nation, as well as entertaining our audiences and supporting our local communities.’ 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, pictured, said: ‘The nation’s hard work to keep the virus under control means we can now make further careful progress on recovery with allowing audiences back for indoor performances, fans back at sports events and the reopening of more Covid-19-secure leisure businesses.

‘We must all continue to stay alert but today’s welcome news means these organisations can finally get going safely, and we can enjoy more of the things we love as a nation.’

He has previously indicated that a date for stage five opening - allowing for fuller audiences at indoor performances - may not be announced until November.

The relaxation – which also applies to the likes of soft-play areas, skating rink, bowling alleys and close-contact beauty treatment - was announced at the same time as tougher penalties for people who repeatedly ignore the rules on face coverings in shops and on transport, who could now be fined up to £3,200.

There has been no update on when venues in Scotland and Wales might be allowed to reopen.

Any venues wanting to reopen must adhere to a comprehensive series of health and safety edicts, available here.

Published: 14 Aug 2020

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