Andrew Lloyd Webber: Vaccine passports in theatres an ‘obvious’ way to avoid new lockdown

·3-min read
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Luann de Lesseps - Bruce Glikas/Getty Images North America
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Luann de Lesseps - Bruce Glikas/Getty Images North America

Andrew Lloyd Webber has claimed mandatory face masks and vaccine passports in theatres are an "obvious thing to do" in order to avoid another lockdown.

Lord Lloyd Webber, 73, a vocal critic of the forced closure of theatres in lockdown, said such measures were "a small price to pay" to keep performances running.

It comes as Scotland considers extending its legally enforceable vaccine passport scheme to include theatres next month.

Discussing the possibility of similar measures in England, the composer told LBC: "I think if it gets really bad here then that's the obvious thing to do, as we can't go through another lockdown again."

Lord Lloyd Webber was a critic of governments keeping Britain's theatres closed or under heavy Covid restrictions in June when other sectors were allowed to reopen.

He told The Telegraph at the time that he would reopen his theatres without social distancing "come hell or high water" and vowed that, if he was not allowed to do so, "we will say come to the theatre and arrest us".

With Covid infections surging across Europe and countries bringing in increasingly strict policies around vaccination, Lord Lloyd Webber issued a fresh warning.

‘The one thing everybody has got to do is get vaccinated’

"I've just got back from America, I've been in New York where you can't buy a cup of coffee unless you are double vaccinated, you can't go into any building unless you bring proof of double vaccination," he told the radio station. "You can't go to the theatre without proof of double vaccination, and you have to wear a mask all the way through.

"People are determined to go out but, as I say, you can't even buy a cup of coffee... you certainly couldn't go and sit down in a restaurant without proof of double vaccination. And it strikes me that if that is what we have to do it's a pretty low price to pay."

England has resisted the use of mandatory vaccine passports so far, but some venues require them for entry and the measure is part of the Government's winter "plan B" for tackling a surge in virus cases.

However, Covid passes – which include negative tests – are required to enter cinemas and theatres in Wales and hospitality venues in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, will announce on Tuesday whether vaccine certificates will be extended from nightclubs and major events to cinemas and theatres.

Lord Lloyd-Webber urged people to get vaccinated, saying: "Nobody wants to wear a mask in the theatre, nobody wants to prove that they've had two vaccines.

"I was actually thinking to myself that I've had five doses of various vaccines and had no ill effects at all. It just seems to me that the one thing everybody has got to do is, whether they like it or not, get vaccinated."

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