Government announces new post lock-down restrictions

23 November 2020

Theatres within Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas to reopen and those within Tier 3 to remain closed

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson today announced the new restrictions under the new three-tier system that will be imposed as of 2nd December.

Theatres within Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas can reopen with social distancing and limited audiences, while those within Tier 3 will remain closed. The government guidelines can be read here.

Each area will be in one of three Tiers:

  • Under Tier 3, the highest risk area, theatres and concert halls will not be permitted to open to audiences.
  • In Tiers 1 and 2, audiences will be restricted for indoor venues to 50% capacity or 1,000 seats, whichever is the lower.

In response to the new announcement, Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre said: “Today’s announcement of new restrictions for performing arts venues in all tiers has shaken an already fragile sector. Closure of venues in tier 3 areas will mean cancellation of pantos and other shows, risking organisations’ long-term survival and leaving theatre freelancers adrift with no compensation. The capacity constraints in tiers 1 & 2 will lead to financial problems for venues and disappointment for audiences. It is unclear why these have been instituted in a sector with no known spread of the virus. As ever, we remain committed to working with Government to secure the survival of our world leading theatre sector.”

Eleanor Lloyd, President of the Society of London Theatre said: “This is another unhappy day for the theatre industry which after 8 months of restrictions is already in a precarious position. From a London perspective, we wait to see which tier will apply. Clearly closure under tier 3 will be devastating for those shows that were planning to open after 3rd December, but even the capacity constraints under tier 1 and 2 will have a significant impact on those shows and their audiences. This is particularly disappointing given the great work that has happened between the sector and government, to re-open with social distancing and extensive safety measures.”

The Government is expected to give a further update on Thursday to confirm which areas of the country are under which tier. Stay tuned for further announcements.