The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said “mass indoor events are now in my sights” and the planned Operation Sleeping Beauty to bring live events back.

“There are people waiting in the wings to get full performances back on during the crucial Christmas period – and I want to support them,” said Dowden in a piece for the Mail On Sunday.

He said DCMS officials are working on Operation Sleeping Beauty, which “aims to bring back some of the magic of theatre for families this Christmas”. No mention was made of music venues.

Dowden referred to test events that have been carried out to gauge the impact of indoor events on the spread of Covid-19, such as the one in Germany that saw 1500 volunteers spend ten hours inside Arena Leipzig, and vowed to learn from them.

He said, “I won’t allow the UK to be a laggard in the race to return live theatre. If we cherish the hustle and bustle of our cities and our vibrant urban economy, then we need to show our cultural organisations and businesses support now.

“We cannot guarantee plain sailing, and as with any part of reopening after lockdown, we cannot guarantee zero risk.

“That’s just as true when people sit next to each other on planes. But as with flying, we can minimise the threat and help adults find ways to feel a sense of normality – whether it’s by getting on a plane, enjoying a half-price meal out (as 100 million did last month), or, indeed, by visiting the theatre.”

Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust tweeted: “I am a member of the Venues Working Group developing stage 5 of the return of indoor performances and have never heard of Operation Sleeping Beauty.

“I’m absolutely delighted to hear it exists, many other representatives of the live music industry will be similarly pleased. We already have a raft of ideas to increase capacities, and want those to be part of it.”