New COVID rules mean mandatory measures are now applicable to theatres

Over the course of the last week, Boris Johnson has started to implement the long-talked-about Plan B. Here’s how it affects theatre audiences.

West End Theatre
Please help keep the West End and theatres UK wide open by wearing a mask and supporting the industry in your compliance.

The main impact of Plan B to theatre goers surrounds making mask-wearing in theatres a legal requirement. This is now in effect. There are a few exceptions but most patrons now must wear a mask once they enter the theatre until they leave. See the current state of play with what productions are still running.

Most responsible theatres started implementing this measure voluntarily before the rules changed. Remembering back to statements made by theatre lovers during the lockdown as ways of re-opening theatres were pushed by theatre lovers and the venues themselves. The mask and COVID pass are not as radical of some of the earlier proposals floated last year.

It is somewhat concerning that a lot of noise has been made by those against wearing masks in spite of Omicron variant looking like it will multiple cases exponentially. From research done with our users, the mask mandate may prove to encourage back a lot of regular theatre lovers who have not felt safe in theatres and who have stayed away. The mask mandate though only works if theatre owners enforce the new restrictions. Front of House and Customer Support Staff need security and management support.

In addition, The NHS COVID Pass will also be introduced, however, at this time, it will not cover seated theatre venues unless as with the West End production of Cabaret it is a condition of entry predicated by the production. The COVID Pass will be required for unseated venues with more than 500 attendees, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4000 attendees and any venue with more than 10,000 attendees.

A further concern in the theatre industry relates to changes in self-isolation rules which can be found outlined in the link shown below. These rules are of particular interest as shows including Moulin Rouge and Life of Pi have been forced to cancel performances in past days.

It is the view here, that Boris Johnson needs to make rules clearer and remove crazy contradictions like the condition that allows to not wear a mask anywhere just sing and you are absolved (thanks to the BBC for letting us know about this crazy get out of gaol free card), or telling us how you have to work from home, but, still feel free to have a works Christmas Party.

At least now we know what Plan B contains after weeks of Boris Johnson taunting us. Plan B with something that most media and the public already realised was inevitable but has invariably enacted late yet again.

Please stay safe and help us keep theatres open. Now that we know what it’s like to be without, let’s comply to keep our theatres from going broke.

Read the Plan B restrictions here to stay updated.

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