UK nightclubs could reopen earliest June 21st, according to the government’s new Covid-19 roadmap. Clubs, which fall under the final step of Boris Johnson’s four-step plan to easing restrictions, will be among the last spaces to open to the public.
Monday, June 21st is the earliest possible date, though this is subject to review. Each step on the roadmap must be separated by at least five weeks. Also falling under Step 4 are what the roadmap calls “large events,” which includes music festivals.
Whether these return depends on the outcomes of the government’s scientific Events Research Programme, a series of pilot events with large crowds and reduced social distancing scheduled to begin in April. Step 3, which will begin no earlier than May 17th, will allow for “some large events,” with indoor events capped at 1,000 people (or 50 percent of capacity), outdoor events at 4,000 (or 50 percent of capacity) and outdoor seated events at 10,000 (or 25 percent of capacity). “Festival organisers only want to return when it is safe to do so,” said Paul Reed, CEO of the Association Of Independent Festivals, in a statement. “But if the easing of restrictions does lose momentum and events are suddenly cancelled as a result, it is vital that our sector receives swift and targeted government support to compensate.
In addition, government intervention on insurance and VAT remain critical.” The first two steps in the roadmap make no mention of events. Step 1, which begins March 8th, is focussed on schools reopening, while Step 2, scheduled for April 12th, allows for gyms, shops and overnight stays within the UK, among other things.
As for international travel, the roadmap doesn’t commit to any concrete timelines, though May 17th is the earliest it could resume. The roadmap emerges as the number of cases and deaths in the UK has dipped considerably since the third lockdown began. Between February 6th and 12th in England, 1 in 115 people tested positive for Covid-19 compared to the peak of 1 in 50 between January 3rd and 9th. Last week, a new government report found that the UK nightlife industry could face “extinction” without urgent action. Here are the visuals for Step 3 and Step 4.