Music fans have good reason to rejoice. As early as this summer, we could start seeing the re-appearance of live gigs, outdoor music festivals, and packed nightclubs here in the UK. PM Boris Johnson announced on February 22 a four-step plan to bring the country out of strict lockdown, provided that successful vaccination efforts and a steady decline of COVID-19 transmission takes place. From March 29, up to two households or six people could gather outdoors. Indoor music concerts with reduced attendance could begin from May 17. Physical distancing and capacity restrictions will still be implemented. The United Kingdom is the first European country to unveil this type of post-pandemic roadmap.
No Replacement For Live Music
While we are all enjoying taking a renewed look at our collection of vinyl music this past year, there is no replacement for live music. Live music shows in the UK stopped since March last year due to the rapidly expanding coronavirus outbreak. After a brief period of relaxed restrictions, the UK went into another lockdown on January 6. Under the upcoming guidelines, the maximum capacity could be maintained at 50% for outdoor events.
Lockdowns Lifting Soon
Boris Johnson added that social distancing restrictions could be lifted entirely from June 21 and this could mean that outdoor shows and concerts will return to full capacity, although people will still need to wear face masks and practice other preventive measures. If there are no new highly infectious strains of coronavirus, hospital admissions of COVID-19 are substantially lower, infection rates are under control and vaccinations are successful, this plan could materialise sooner. The statement of the prime minister is giving hope for the return of live music sector in the UK; although it may take time before attendance returns to pre-outbreak levels.
COVID Vaccination Rollout
As of early March 2021, about 22 million people in the UK have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination, or about one-third of the population. By the end of July, everyone above 18 years old should get the vaccination. After Israel and UAE, the United Kingdom has the 3rd highest rate of vaccination. After most people receive their second shot of the COVID vaccination, we could see whether the mass vaccination programme is effective in preventing further transmissions.
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