Happy New Lockdown: UK Measures In Place Until February
In a disappointing start to 2021, it has been announced that many parts of the UK will be in a new lockdown until the middle of February at least. In a public statement released at 8pm on 4th January, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation to outline the new measures and what they will mean.
The news came soon after Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, had announced stricter lockdown measures for Scotland for January, with Johnson following suit and placing England into a lockdown situation he described as ‘similar to March conditions’.
The key messages from the PM were:
- People must stay at home, leaving home only for essential shopping, travelling to work, to seek medical assistance, to leave domestic violence situations.
- If you were shielding in previous lockdown, you must do so again.
- If possible you should work from home.
- All schools, colleges and universities will move to remote learning from 5th January, and remain closed except to children of keyworkers and vulnerable children.
- Alternative arrangements will be made for students’ summer exams.
- Non-essential retail and hospitality must close or remain closed, with deliveries and takeaway options available but with a ban on alcohol sales due to worries of people meeting and socialising.
- Outdoor team sports are no longer allowed, although professional level sport is allowed.
- Places of worship must abide by social distancing rules but are able to remain open.
- The lockdown rules are set to last for seven weeks with a review date set for 22nd February 2021.
What does this mean for the Arts and Entertainment?
With many companies hoping to either resume ‘normal’ or ‘socially-distanced’ performances at some point in 2021, this news has come as quite a blow, especially as it quickly follows on the heels of the many U-turns that were made on the run up to Christmas, which adversely affected panto season and the reopening of music and theatre.
It’s now of genuine concern whether opening for the Spring 2021 season will be a reasonable and realistic possibility for companies to aim for, especially when factoring in pre-show rehearsals, organisation and of course setting show dates.
While the measures for England will be reviewed on 22nd February, it’s entirely possible that the lockdown could be extended further rather than measures easing. Rumours are currently circulating on the UK media that restrictions will in fact be in place until March, as Johnson had hinted that this was a possibility in his address.
As TheatreArtLife have previously reported on the 2021 plans for opening shows such as Hamilton and the reopening of the main shows on the West End scheduled for May, it’s concerning that a bad outcome in the February review might put a swift end to these plans before they’ve had a chance to begin again.
Resources for help
As the UK braces itself once again for the foreseeable, it can be difficult for the many who are already struggling. If you are in need of assistance please reach out and talk to a professional who can offer guidance:
The Samaritans – Phone 116 123 – Website
CALM – Phone 0800 585 858 – Website
Domestic Abuse Helpline – Phone 0808 2000 247 – Website
Shelter – Phone 0808 800 4444 – Website
Shout Text Service – 85258
Childline – 0800 1111 – Website
Drinkline – Phone 0300 123 1110 – Website