Live theatre shows may not return in time for Christmas because “bubble soap” thrown into audiences carries a “huge” risk of Covid-19 transmission, the Culture Secretary warned.
Oliver Dowden has warned that the return of theatre performances without social distancing remains “some way off” following the Government’s announcement of a £1.57 billion support package for the arts.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the relaxation of guidelines, such as on planes, has only been implemented in “exceptionally limited circumstances” and insisted “slow and baby steps” must be taken
He added: “I would love to be able to announce that pantos can return but I have to say it will be quite challenging to be able to get to that point.”
“Because if you think about a panto, and we all love going to the panto for the joy of it, but it also supports local theatres, you’ve got granny through to grandchild all packed in together, you know how kids are encouraged to shout and scream at panto season, there’s lots of sort of interaction.”
Mr Dowden said he is working with Public Health England to see if the risks can be mitigated but he wants “to be realistic about the challenges of getting us back to that point any time soon”.