The prime minister Boris Johnson will host a press conference this afternoon, 5 July, at which he is expected to announce that from 19 July onwards full-capacity mass events, including festivals, will be allowed to take place.
Should events be given the green light, as expected, the reopening will mark the first time since the start of the pandemic that the £4.6bn live music industry has be able to operate without restraint.
Johnson is also expected to confirm that the wearing of masks will be voluntary, there will no longer be a requirement to scan a QR code when entering a venue, and regulations that require businesses to collect customers’ contact tracing details will be no longer be enforced.
It is understood social distancing rules and a domestic Covid-19 passport will also be dropped, and table service at bars will no longer be mandatory.
The Sunday Time quoted a Downing Street source who said, “We believe it is now time for the public to start learning to live with Covid.
“All the data and scientific modelling suggests that the lifting of restrictions will lead to a rise in cases, but with the continued success of the vaccine rollout and the break in the link between hospitalisations and deaths, we are confident there will be no risk of it putting significant additional pressure on the NHS.”
The newspaper quoted a Whitehall source who suggested the mandatory collection of contact tracing details will be replaced with a “test and release” initiative that would enable someone who has been in close proximity to an individual with Covid-19 to carry out normal life immediately following a negative test result.
Greg Parmley, CEO of live industry umbrella group LIVE, said, “We welcome the positive noises coming from Government around reopening. As an industry that has been closed since the start of the pandemic, we are thrilled at the prospect of welcoming live music fans back through our doors.
“But the last year has taught us that nothing can be taken for granted. If the Government wants the industry to bounce back and help the economy recover, they need to provide a government-backed insurance scheme to give organisers the confidence and security they still desperately need.”