Socially distanced audiences will be allowed back into indoor venues in the UK from this Saturday (August 15) as part of the latest stage of easing lockdown rules.
Announcing the latest step, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that there will be tougher fines for those who flout rules – with fines of up to £3,200 for people repeatedly refusing to wear a mask.
Organisers of illegal raves of more than 30 people could also face a £10,000 penalty, the prime minister said.
While music venues can now re-open with social distancing measures in place, nightclubs and dance halls still remain closed.
The government is also set to allow a small number of sporting events to resume as part of a pilot scheme to test the safe return of larger crowds.
It will begin with a crowd witnessing the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on Saturday and Sunday.
Mr Johnson said: “At every stage I have said our plan to reopen society and the economy is conditional and that it relies on continued progress against the virus.
“Today, we are able to announce some further changes which will allow more people to return to work and the public to get back to more of the things they have missed.”
The announcement comes days after the UK staged its first large-scale socially distanced gig, with over 2,500 fans watching Sam Fender at the new Virgin Money Unity Arena at Newcastle Racecourse. The gig made use of 500 platforms which were spaced two metres apart from one another.
Last month, the government confirmed that the first portion of the government’s £1.57 billion fund to protect the UK’s arts and cultural industries will be used to save grassroots music venues from closing their doors.
The support package will be administered by Arts Council England (ACE) and will specifically target venues identified by the Music Venue Trust to be at severe risk of closure.