Live music restart paused as lockdown relaxations postponed

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unlocking delayed: the Prime Minister has postponed the restarts of several activities that were set to take place tomorrow (Saturday 1 August)
Unlocking delayed: the Prime Minister has postponed the restarts of several activities that were set to take place tomorrow (Saturday 1 August)

Related tags: Legislation, Coronavirus

The relaxation of restrictions affecting indoor live music performances and larger gatherings at weddings has been postponed a further two weeks.

Indoor live music performances will no longer be allowed to take place this weekend after the relaxation of lockdown restrictions has been postponed for two weeks. On top of this, wedding receptions of up to 30 people will no longer be allowed to take place from this weekend.

Speaking at a press briefing today (Friday 31 July), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said changes set to take place from Saturday 1 August would be delayed amid rising infections in England.

It comes as the Government said there had been a slight increase in the number of people across England testing positive for coronavirus, in addition to significant rises in infection in certain regions.

Brake pedal

Johnson said: "With those numbers creeping up, our assessment is that we should squeeze that brake pedal, in order to keep the virus under control.

"That means until 15 August at the earliest casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and the remaining close-contact services must remain closed.

"Indoor performances will not resume, pilots of larger gatherings in sports venues and conference centres will not take place, and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted."

Johnson added: "I know that the steps we are taking will be a real blow to many people, to everyone whose wedding plans have been disrupted or who cannot now celebrate Eid in the way that they would wish. And I'm really, really sorry about that but we cannot simply take the risk."

The Prime Minister announced that face coverings will be mandatory in more indoor settings, including museums and cinemas. The Government has said previously masks and shields will not be made mandatory in hospitality settings.

Music guidance

Indoor music performance pilots had been taking place at venues across the country although none of those selected were pubs.

Venues will have to follow strict guidelines to host live music indoors​, including social distancing between performers and audience members.

Some smaller music pubs have said the present guidance would make it impossible to trade at a profit and are intending to stay closed until social distancing guidance can be eased.

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) said it was not shocked by the delay as it had always made clear that grassroots venues would struggle to stage live music before 1 October at the earliest.

A spokesperson said: "Music Venue Trust would like to restate and emphasise the position of the sector, which is that a clear and decisive position on the part of government to provide support for grassroots music venues in the form of efficiently distributed crisis funding until such time as they can re-open safely and viably would provide the much needed clarity that venues, artists, audiences and the wider public need."

For some venues, the news has seen gigs cancelled. The Spinning Top in Stockport informed punters it was cancelling a planned music event set to take place tomorrow, with operators sharing their frustration.

Related topics: Entertainment, Legislation

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