Leeds theatres and other entertainment venues set for full houses - but what about face coverings?

Theatres and other entertainment venues across Leeds are gearing up for full houses when social distancing ends on July 19 - but decisions still have to be made on what advice to give customers on face coverings.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 4:45 am
Jack Simpson picturesd outside Hyde Park Book Club
Jack Simpson picturesd outside Hyde Park Book Club

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday (July 5) that social distancing and the legal requirement to wear face coverings will be lifted from July 19, adding: "Guidance will suggest where you might choose to do so, especially when cases are rising, and where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed places, such as obviously crowded public transport."

The Grand and The City Varieties Music Hall have suffered a horrendous year, losing 99 per cent of their income due to the pandemic.

Amy Sanderson is head of communications at Leeds Heritage Theatres, which runs The Grand and City Varieties.

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Amy Sanderson at Leeds Grabnd Theatre

She said: "We all thought we would be really excited about social distancing going, and we are.

"It's much better for us to be able to have more people back in.

"But we are really aware of other concerns and the debate about masks."

Amy said she does not yet know yet if the theatres will be recommending that audience members wear face coverings or not after July 19.

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She said: "We are looking at what will make people feel safe, regardless of what the government is saying."

Amy added: "We will obviously be removing social distancing, that's one certainty we do have.

"But we are working on looking at what the rest of our advice will be and what changes we make now the restrictions are being lifted."

Amy said customers will be kept informed on what they decide before July 19.

Jack Simpson runs gigs, poetry events and exhibitions at Hyde Park Book Club on Hyde Park Corner and Eiger Studios on Dewsbury Road.

He said: "I think it is going to be interesting to navigate, given that there is so much division in public opinion about how to deal with it.

"People working in hospitality and culture have been given a bit of a hospital pass to sort it out.

"It's kind of just been kicked for everybody else to deal with rather than the government taking responsibility

"On one hand, yes we are definitely looking forward to being able to do music events again.

"There is time to get together as a team to work out what we feel is best.

"We will be discussing what our plans are regarding advice to customers.

"Yes we want busy events back but at the same time we have a responsibility to the city to keep everyone safe."