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U.K. REOPENING HANGS IN THE BALANCE

The U.K. may delay its proposed opening date of 6/21 due to the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. The live-entertainment sector is pushing back.

There has been a rise of coronavirus infections in the U.K. partly owing to the dominance of a new strain that was first discovered in India, and researchers have suggested that if all restrictions are lifted, daily hospital admissions could spike. As a result, the government is debating moving the final stage of lifting restrictions. 

This last phase was scheduled for 6/21, the date nightclubs and venues were set to open, which could be delayed by up to four weeks. The cap on large-scale events was also set to be dropped on that date, along with guidance on working from home and mask-wearing. A decision is expected on Monday.

The news has been met by dismay from those in the live-entertainment sector. The Night Time Industries Association is “aggressively” pushing back on any changes to the road map, pointing out that a delay would be “catastrophic” for the businesses that have been locked down since March. Alongside key partners in various sectors, the org intends to challenge the government if the decision goes against opening on the 21st. 

Said NTIA CEO Michael Kill, “To delay would have a huge impact on the sector, losing many businesses and livelihoods, culminating in further loss of confidence in the sector.”

Theater owner Andrew Lloyd Webber is also set to challenge any change in the plan, saying he’ll open his theaters on the 21st regardless. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Webber claimed that scientific evidence says theaters don’t cause outbreaks and he’s prepared to be arrested if the government intervenes in his plan. He added: “If the government ignore their own science, we have the mother of all legal cases against them.”

Today, a senior NHS boss told Times Radio that hospitals are reporting fewer and younger patients, resulting in a "significantly lower mortality rate" due to the successful rollout of the U.K.'s vaccination program.

 

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