16th June 2021
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Mayor Of London Sadiq Khan Announces £5m Roadmap To Reopen City

Mayor Of London Sadiq Khan Announces £5m Roadmap To Reopen City
By Michelle Sciarrotta

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London has announced plans for the capital to reopen following the UK’s lockdown of all but essential businesses, with a roadmap commencing in March.

The roadmap

Mayor Khan has been working with a number of businesses and local government officials to create a plan for reopening London, and will appoint a minister to lead the process as the nation works to reopen after lockdown. Ahead of the nationwide roadmap, which is due to be announced by the PM ahead of the budget on 3rd March, the news has been a welcome and pleasant surprise.

The roadmap for London will consist of a “three-phase approach” over 12 months, with Mayor Khan dedicating £5m to welcoming back domestic visitors to the city (as soon as it is safe to do so). City Hall released the roadmap’s first phase, stating:

“Working with the business community, new initiatives will be developed to encourage Londoners and tourists from around the UK back into Central London. Proposals are likely to include major events that showcase central London’s public spaces and cultural riches.”

Of course the mention of ‘major events’ and ‘cultural riches’ has drawn much attention from those in the arts and entertainment industry – with the West End being specifically mentioned in the report that was co-created with the London School of Economics. Additionally, Mayor Khan has committed to the Culture at Risk Fund and promised £2.3m to creative and entertainment venues.

The timeline

While the full roadmap for the nation has not officially been announced, Sky news has reported that the data shows infection rates have been consistently dropping across London and the UK and that it is rumoured hospitality and leisure venues are scheduled to reopen at the end of April, and entertainment venues at the beginning of May.

Although this is indeed a ray of hope for the West End and the entertainment industry, companies have responded differently in terms of making plans, with many remaining cautious until the guidance is official and clear. Rather than planning to open the doors in the first week of May, in fact some productions have taken the opposite approach due to the uncertainty – it was announced this week that Sister Act – The Musical would not be going ahead with its London run and UK/Ireland tour.

Taking a different approach, Six the Musical have added to their socially distanced production plans. The show previously had a successful launch at the Lyric Theatre in December prior to being closed by the UK’s third lockdown. The show announced on 18th February they would be reopening on the West End again with dates that extended until 22nd August 2021. In an official statement, Six outlined the new plans for a longer run that would commence “subject to receiving clear guidance from the government on a restart date”.

As Mayor Khan promises to prepare “the biggest tourism and public confidence campaign our city has ever seen” entertainment professionals across the West End, London, and the nation are waiting with bated breath to find out what the future holds, and whether this incarnation of life after lockdown will be the one that sticks.

Also by Michelle Sciarrotta:

Accessibility At The Smith Center Series: Part One

James “Fitz” FitzSimmons Interview: The Boys In The Band On Netflix

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