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Venues fear Covid closing at short notice

Venues across the country are reported to fearful of "closing down by stealth" as "hard to predict Covid" implications are crippling their ability to hold events and productions.

sTAGE
  There is concern that the effects on staff could occur at short notice

The Observer newspaper has reported that many West End theatres in London as well as venues across the country are urging the government to let them use regular Covid-19 testing of cast and support crew to enable them to avoid what they refer to as the "crippling" consequences of track and trace testing notifications.

Stealth

In an article on the weekend by by Vanessa Thorpe, the paper's respected Arts & Media Correspondent quoted Julian Bird, CEO of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre as saying that he believed it to be "...a kind of 'closing down' by stealth" at a time when the venues are geared to "daily tests and strict cleaning".

High profile productions of 'The Prince of Egypt' and 'Hairspray' as well as 'Wonderville' and 'Bach & Sons' have recently been forced to close their doors at short notice after cast members were 'pinged' by the Covid-19 app.

Huge problem

Julian Bird is also reported as stating that although there has been dialogue with the government, he believed venues were "not normal workplaces" in that "we cannot bring in other people as other businesses might", especially at short notice.

He also pointed out that 'cancellation insurance' was a huge problem as "the market is just not writing that insurance".

In addition, the article highlighted the growing criticism of "confused" government messaging — a point that arose further following the almost immediate imposition of restrictions on nightclub goers within 24 hours of 'Freedom Day' restrictions ostensibly being lifted.

Divisive

Meanwhile, others find the possibility of implementing 'Covid-19 Vaccination Passes' for audiences as divisive and almost impossible to administer.

This has led to one Chief Executive reported as saying that "...the plug might get pulled" on productions at very short notice, whilst the Theatres Trust has said that "...it needs time to understand the impact of the new guidance before it can make recommendations".

This has led to one Chief Executive reported as saying that "...the plug might get pulled" on productions at very short notice4BR

Hard to predict

And whilst some major venues such as Glyndebourne and the National Theatre have said that they are returning to 'full -house' ticket sales, others will remain socially distanced until October, and some are offering 'mixed' approach depending on demand.

However, as Julian Bird is reported as stating "...the pandemic is very hard to predict" with the possibility that individual venues may opt to undergo a period of 'test' best practice initiatives as a means of being able to open to audiences.

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