Removal of theatre safety measures – our theatregoers respond

Half of British theatre-goers are nervous about returning to theatres if requirements for social distancing and mask wearing come to an end, according to a survey run by BritishTheatre.com.

Social distancing survey

It found that 50.5% of respondents would attend an indoor theatre if face masks were no longer compulsory and 52.3% would attend if social distancing was no longer required.

However, 24.7% said they would not go to an indoor theatre if face coverings were no longer compulsory, and another 24.8% said they were undecided.

If social distancing were no longer in place in theatres, 22.9% said they would not go to the theatre and 24.8% said they were undecided. 

BritishTheatre.com carried out the survey among its readers after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that restrictions including face coverings and social distancing in public indoor spaces such as public transport and theatres would no longer be mandatory in England from 19 July.

Douglas Mayo, managing editor of BritishTheatre.com, said: “Our survey indicates that many theatre-goers remain nervous about the end of mask-wearing and social distancing inside theatres but there are clearly many hardcore theatre-lovers who are keen to get back to theatres as soon as they can, whatever the risks.

“With Boris Johnson warning us on Monday that we must reconcile ourselves to more deaths from Covid, and Health Secretary Sajid Javid saying that Covid cases are expected to rise to 100,000 a day, it is no wonder that many theatre-goers remain nervous about what lies ahead.

“Interestingly, many theatres have been telling us that they will hold back on removing all measures on 19 July and will consult with their audiences before making decisions. In some cases, it seems that many expect to continue with mask-wearing as well as temperature checks.”

Since May, theatres in the UK have slowly been opening with up to 50% capacity due to social distancing alongside compulsory mask wearing. In Scotland and Wales, some restrictions such as mask wearing are expected to stay in place beyond 19 July.

BritishTheatre.com carried out the online survey from 5 to 7 July, receiving nearly 3,000 responses from theatre-goers.

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