Almost two years since the cataclysmic coronavirus pandemic first broke out across the world, causing countries to close their borders, impose social distancing and encourage the use of masks in public, it looks as though the end is in sight.
On July 5, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed plans for the final stage of relaxing COVID-19 restrictions across the country, set to take place on July 19. The news will see the social distancing rule scrapped, along with the ‘rule of 6’, meaning that full capacity will soon be returning for cinemas and theatres.
“This pandemic is far from over…it certainly won’t be over by the 19th, and we must reconcile ourselves sadly to more deaths from Covid,” Johnson announced at a press conference on July 5th. Continuing, the Prime Minister stated, “We must be honest with ourselves that if we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks, when we will be helped by the arrival of summer and by the school holidays, then we must ask ourselves, when will we be able to return to normal?”
Answering the concerns of those who believe that there should be further delay to the relaxing of restrictions, Johnson noted: “The alternative to that is to open up in winter when the virus will have an advantage, or not at all this year”.
UK Cinema Association Chief Executive Phill Clapp commented on yesterday’s announcement and showed positivity in the imminent relaxing of restrictions, stating: “The current social distancing requirements and capacity caps in place at cinemas in England have undoubtedly presented significant financial and operational challenges to many of our members, so we are pleased they will now be given the opportunity to respond more flexibly to audience demand”.
Continuing, Clapp leaves us with some encouraging words, commenting, “We will continue to work with the government and our members to ensure that the big screen experience remains a safe and enjoyable one”.
See a breakdown of the new announcement, below.