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The government has given the green light for socially-distanced indoor concerts and performances to begin in England from Saturday.
Bowling alleys, ice skating rinks and casinos can reopen, and beauty salons and tattoo studios can offer additional treatments as part of the gradual relaxing of lockdown restrictions, while wedding receptions of up to 30 people will also now be allowed.
The move had originally been planned for 1 August but was delayed amid concerns over rising coronavirus infection rates.
On Thursday the government gave the go-ahead for the plans as part of the move to stage four of its roadmap to easing the coronavirus lockdown, which allows indoor and outdoor performances to take place with a limited capacity audience adhering to social distancing. Those on stage will also have to keep to social distancing rules.
The change does not apply to locations under local lockdown such as Greater Manchester, where additional restrictions have been imposed.
Downing Street said the move follows a “successful series of pilots”, which included singer Beverley Knight perform at the London Palladium theatre in front of a sold-out, socially-distanced audience, while Brit Awards winner Sam Fender performed at Newcastle’s Gosforth Park to an audience of fans with their own viewing platforms.
The latest changes also mean that wedding receptions for up to 30 guests will be allowed from Saturday, but only in the form of a sit-down meal in a location that adheres to COVID-19 guidelines.
Tattoo studios, beauty salons, spas and hairdressers will all be able to offer additional services from Saturday, including front of face treatments such as eyebrow threading, and casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, and indoor play areas will be allowed to open their doors.
The government said it will resume plans to pilot a small number of sporting events to test the safe return of larger crowds, starting with the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on Saturday and Sunday.
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