The UK Government has confirmed that indoor venues will be able to host shows, with social distancing, from Saturday, 15 August.

It said trials of sports events, with socially distanced audience members, would also be allowed to take place from this weekend, having been postponed last month. The aim is to reopen competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place, from 1 October.

The first trial event will be the World Snooker Championship final at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on 15-16 August, enabling organisers to welcome around 300 fans over the final two days of the event.

Nightclubs are to remain closed for the foreseeable future, while business events and conferences will be able to resume from 1 October so long as Covid-19 infection rates remain at the current level

The prime minister Boris Johnson initially gave the green light for English music venues to re-open and host indoor performances from 1 August but the re-opening was delayed for two weeks at the end of July due to a rise in infections.

DCMS guidance includes the requirement that venues operate at a reduced capacity in order to maintain social distancing.

The Government also announced plans to introduce further powers to penalise organisers of illegal mass gatherings such as raves.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said, “I will not stand by and see these sacrifices undermined by a small minority of senseless individuals.”

Culture secretary, Oliver Dowden said, “The nation’s hard work to keep the virus under control means we can now make further careful progress on recovery with allowing audiences back for indoor performances, fans back at sports events and the reopening of more Covid-19-secure leisure businesses.”