Entertainment venues in England to close from Thursday until 2 December
| By London Theatre Direct
Following a government briefing on Saturday evening, it has been announced that entertainment venues (including theatres and concert halls) will be closed from this Thursday, 5 November until Wednesday, 2 December 2020 as part of Lockdown #2 in England. Although parliament still has to vote on the new measures this Wednesday (4 November 2020).
We are waiting on official communication from venue groups and specific shows regarding rescheduled performances, exchanges, refunds, etc. and will update this information on our channels as soon as it becomes available.
❗ Ticketholders to performances scheduled to take place during the new lockdown will be contacted by their point of sale should their show be confirmed to be affected by the new measures. We kindly ask customers to be patient and to not overburden our customer service team, as this will affect our ability to process potential refunds or exchanges in a timely manner. Thank you kindly for your understanding. ❗
Prime Minister Boris Johnson: "Entertainment venues will close" from this Thursday
Entertainment venues in England are expected to close from this Thursday after Boris Johnson announced a new lockdown on Saturday. Parliament still has to vote on the new UK Government guidance and lockdown on Wednesday.
Entertainment venues include "museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft play centres and areas."
Also as part of the new lockdown measures, all "non-essential" businesses will be forced to close from Thursday, 5 November for four weeks, lasting until 2 December.
A number of shows and venues, including London's Southwark Playhouse and their staging of The Last Five Years, plan to continue staging performances until theatres are expected to close on Thursday. This includes Adam Kay: This Is Going to Hurt, which has added an extra performance for tomorrow at 8pm while the Wednesday performance this week will also go ahead as planned.
The Comeback at the Noel Coward Theatre as of now still plans to go ahead with its performances as planned from 8 December onward.
❗ Ticketholders for performances affected after Wednesday and until 2 December 2020 will be updated in due time. ❗
What happens after 2 December?
The Prime Minister stated that it is his hope that England will switch back to the three-tier system after 2 December and areas will handle measures on a localised basis. It is unclear whether venues will be able to re-open with social distancing during a tiered system, though before this second lockdown was announced theatres were still permitted to stay open even in Tier 3. All measures will be voted on by the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Who is eligible for support during the second lockdown?
The Government's furlough scheme has been extended for the month of November, though the details have yet to be confirmed. This extension was announced on the final day of the existing furlough scheme, which Chancellor Rishi Sunak had previously declared would not be extended. This has resulted in many former workers who lost their job not being able to benefit from the extension of the furlough scheme. Support for freelance workers has not been mentioned.
What Boris Johnson said on Saturday about the new lockdown
Boris Johnson stated in his national address: "No responsible Prime Minister can ignore the message of the figures...We know the cost of these restrictions. The impact on jobs and livelihoods.
"We will continue to provide a pragmatic approach in the month ahead...but we've got to be humbled in the face of nature...the virus is spreading faster than the worst-case scenario. Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives."
Will venues re-open in time for Christmas?
UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed that film and TV productions, as well as professional sport, shall be permitted to continue behind closed doors. However, whether venues will be allowed to reopen after 2 December depends on how the rate of infection declines.
While the majority of theatres have been closed, a number of theatres had been re-opening with socially distanced shows up until the new lockdown was announced. While socially distanced, COVID-secure venues are expected to close, schools and universities will still remain open under the newly announced rules. Workplaces, where the majority of new infections generally occur, will also be permitted to stay open.
At the very least, venues will be able to remain open for streamed live performances to virtual audiences so long as casts can treat the theatre as their workplace, as has been the case in the past.
I have tickets to see London theatre shows in November, what do I do?
Current ticketholders should wait for further information and clarification from their point of sale on whether or not performances will go ahead. We kindly ask for your patience and understanding and to refrain from contacting us directly, as this will overburden our customer service team and likely result in delays with exchanges and refunds. Thank you for your understanding.