Bromley Churchill Theatre ‘disappointed’ by lockdown extension

Bromley’s leading theatre has said it is “very disappointed” with the latest delay in the loosening of Covid restrictions, claiming there in “no correlation between live events and transmission.”

The Churchill Theatre, which has remained closed since March, has urged the Government to “act as quickly as possible” to allow them to reopen, after the PM pushed back the date for the final removal of controls by four weeks to July 19 due to the spread of the Delta variant. 

Pointing to the implications for the “local economy, out business and the health and wellbeing of our communities and staff,” the theatre stressed that live performances pose minimal risk.

A spokesperson said: “We are very disappointed with the Government’s announcement today.

“Whilst we understand the case for a cautious approach, the Government’s recent research shows no correlation between live events and transmission.

“In simple terms, as the live event research demonstrates, a visit to a show presents no greater risk that a trip to a restaurant, pub, cinema or supermarket.

“Given the successful vaccine rollout and the data now supporting a return to live events at capacity we urged the government to act as quickly as possible to allow us to reopen.

“The nature of our venue programme means that, even once restrictions are lifted, it will be some time before we can welcome audiences back to see a show.

“Each delay pushes this reopening date back further, with obvious implications for the local economy, our business and the health and wellbeing of our communities and staff.

“A trip to see a show is thrilling, joyful and fun.

“It’s an escape, a diversion and a release. It’s one of the few remaining shared experiences we have. And now, more than ever, it’s the tonic we need.”

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Boris Johnson confirmed that he was delaying ending England’s lockdown yesterday, with July 19 now the date earmarked for lifting the remaining restrictions.

Scientists had warned that the rapidly spreading Delta variant, which was first identified in India, would lead to a “significant” rise in hospital admissions if stage four of England’s road map went ahead as planned on June 21.

More than 30 guests will now be able to attend weddings, wedding receptions and other commemorative events such as wakes, but the capacity of venues will be limited by the requirements around social distancing.

Prominent figures in the Theatre industry, including Andrew Lloyd Webber, have argued the Government’s own data shows a trip to the theatre is less dangerous than going to the pub, restaurant or supermarket and stressed the sector’s importance to public life.

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Early findings have concluded that attending live events without masks and social distancing is no more dangerous visiting a shopping centre or eating in a restaurant.

Data seen by The Times indicated that screening and improved ventilation could significantly reduce the risk of transmission at gigs, concerts, theatre performances and sports matches.

A number of full-capacity trial events have been conducted in the recent months, including a nightclub event in Liverpool and the Brit Awards at London’s O2.

Bristol – Metro