The Government has announced that indoor venues in England can now host shows, with social distancing, but arena operators have said opening remains impossible.

“No venues will be opening under Stage 4 guidance,” said Lucy Noble (pictured), chair of the UK’s National Arenas Association, which represents 23 arenas.

Noble, who is artistic and commercial director of the Royal Albert Hall (cap, 5,200), said, “We cannot open while social distancing is in place because it does not work financially – so even if it could work practically, it’s a no goer for us. What we need is a date for Stage 5 – even if that is conditional, because at the moment venues are making redundancies because we just don’t know when we’ll be able to open. We are on our knees.”

The Government gave the green light for indoor venues to open from 15 August, and trials of sports events with socially distanced audience members. It said the aim is to reopen competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place, from 1 October.

The first trial sports event was the World Snooker Championship final at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on 15-16 August, with around 300 fans in the audience.