Live gigs impossible under top two tiers of government’s new lockdown measures

Boris Johnson has announced a new three-tier local lockdown plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic

Live gigs will seemingly be impossible in certain areas of the UK following the announcement of the government’s new local lockdown measures.

This afternoon (October 12), Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out a new three-tier local lockdown plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

He set out details in a House of Commons statement, saying: “We will now simplify and standardise our local rules, by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID alert levels in England set at medium, high and very high.”

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Areas of the UK in the medium tier continue with the same rules that are currently in place nationwide. They include the “rule of six”, which forbids more than six people meeting in any situation, and the 10pm curfew for pubs and other hospitality venues. These rules also apply in every other tier.

People in high tier areas will be banned from meeting anyone from a different household indoors, which includes in a private home or inside a hospitality venue such as a pub or restaurant. The “rule of six” will apply in outdoor settings, including public spaces such as parks, and private gardens. People in these areas will also be advised not to travel except for essential reasons.

Those in the very high tier will be banned from meeting people from other households both indoors and in most outdoor settings, including private gardens, beer gardens or any ticketed venue. However, people can still meet in public outdoor settings such as a park. Pubs and bars will be closed – but not restaurants. And pubs will be able to stay open if they start operating like a restaurant, which means they only sell drinks with a meal.

People will be strongly advised not to travel into or out of a very high tier area. However, this will only be guidance, and will not be enforced by law. Additionally, local councils will be invited to add extra restrictions if they wish. This could include the closure of gyms or casinos.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson. CREDIT: Stefan Rousseau- WPA Pool/Getty Images

While live music was not mentioned directly, households and support bubbles subject to the top two levels of restrictions will no longer be able to mix indoors which will make gigs, socially distanced or otherwise, impossible.

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Areas that fall under the medium level – the lowest of the three tiers – will remain subject to the current “rule of six” and a 10pm curfew for hospitality, so the socially distanced gigs that have been taking place under these rules could, presumably, continue.

The Government has said it hopes to confirm which tier every part of the country is in by the end of today (October 12), although it has already been confirmed that Merseyside – including  Liverpool – will be placed in the very high alert category.

The new rules are set to come into effect on Wednesday (October 14) just after midnight.

Meanwhile, hundreds of music venues, festivals, arts spaces and culture organisations in England are celebrating after being awarded part of a £257million grant in the first wave of funding from the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund.

Over 1,385 theatres, museums and cultural organisations across England have benefitted from the £257million grant – the largest chunk of the government’s £1.57billion bailout fund to date, helping venue and cultural spaces to weather the storm of being forced to close due to coronavirus restrictions.

At the time of publishing, 90 per cent of results were in with 89 per cent of applications from England’s grassroots venue sector have been successful so far – and less than 20 still in danger. Meanwhile, 71 per cent of the Association of Independent Festival’s applications have been successful so far.

With full-capacity gigs currently expected to return safely in April, the cash injection will help to mothball live spaces until COVID restrictions subside. This comes after many venues feared that they may “never see funding or reopen“. News on funding for venues in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will follow in the coming weeks.

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