Government 'to launch seat out to help out' scheme to get people back in theatres

7 September 2020, 07:17

The government want to get people back in theatres
The government want to get people back in theatres. Picture: PA Images/Getty Images

Ministers are looking at plans encouraging crowds into theatres and stadiums by using a similar scheme to the 'Eat out to Help out'.

The Government is reportedly looking at launching a ‘Seat Out to Help Out’ scheme to encourage people to go to shows and sports games again.

Theatres in the UK were allowed to open their doors again from August 15, with a reduced capacity and socially distanced audiences.

But those in the industry have warned that they cannot afford to keep performances going if they do not get near-full capacity.

According to The Sunday Times, the Prime Minister and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden are now looking at ways to get crowds back into large venues when more restrictions are lifted.

Theatres have been unable to open for months
Theatres have been unable to open for months. Picture: PA Images

This would see a scheme similar to the recent ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ launched by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, could be put in place to give big discounts for those with tickets.

The proposed ‘Seat Out to Help Out’ plan would provide discounts for those with a ticket on the day.

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A government source told the publication: “It could be tickets for a tenner on a Monday, with a link to local restaurants.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has since said that the nation needs to start getting back into theatres and big venues to stop them from going out of business.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he said: “We need to start filling seats in much larger numbers – not just for the audiences, not just for the venues and livelihoods who depend on them, but for the entire urban economy, too.

“Theatre is a lynchpin of London’s West End and its absence is painfully reflected in its deserted streets. Innovation is key. It has the ability to rewrite the entire script, and I’m keen to take some of the best experimental ideas for getting people into our theatres safely and put them into practice.”

Plans for on-the-day coronavirus tests - which would confirm theatre goers don’t have the virus before they turn up - has also been discussed, which means venues and sports stadiums could reopen even faster.

Currently, venues can only operate at 25% capacity, but many West End theatre owners said their audiences will have to be around 70 to 80% capacity in order for their shows to be financially viable.

Sports stadiums also currently have to adhere to strict social-distancing rules, but bosses said they will need to be at 60% capacity to keep going.

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