How May 17 easing will impact pubs, music, weddings museums and more
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The chief executive of the Help Musicians charity has described the return of live music as "massively important", but warned of an increase in mental health issues among performers.
Monday will see limited audiences return to theatres, sports stadiums and music venues, many for the first time this year, as lockdown measures are eased.
James Ainscough, whose charity has supported the industry since live music was effectively halted in March 2020, welcomed the move, describing live performance as an important part of the "ecosystem".
However, he predicted the unlocking would come with both financial and mental health challenges for musicians.
He told the PA news agency: "It's huge. It is probably around 50% of total earnings and this is a £5 billion-plus industry, so this is a big thing.
"The music is an ecosystem and live, particularly in small venues, is where musicians first learn their trade. All the big stars started out somewhere small.
"And so to get all these different bits of the ecosystem running again returns it to being healthy. It is massively important."
While some venues plan to reopen with socially-distanced audiences from Monday, many remain closed for the immediate future.
In this region, Norwich Arts Centre is amongst those planning a series of socially-distant gigs, with others preferring to wait until after June 21 and hopefully the full end of restrictions.
MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
As museums and galleries prepare to welcome back visitors, new research suggests more than half of institutions are worried about their long-term survival.
On Monday, museums and galleries in England and Wales will welcome back visitors for the first time in months.
However, research by charity Art Fund suggests 55% of museums and galleries remain concerned about their ability to stay open.
The survey also revealed that only 24% said they were not very concerned abut their ongoing survival, while 4% were not concerned at all.
A total of 316 museum and gallery directors were surveyed as part of the research.
Of those polled, 39% said they relied on grants from local authorities to get by during the pandemic, while 38% relied on Government funding from the Culture Recovery Fund.
The Government previously unveiled the £1.57 billion fund to save institutions in peril as a result of the global pandemic, plus additional support during the Budget this year.
Visitor numbers at museums and galleries were down 75% in 2021/21 compared to the previous year, according to Art Fund.
The charity's director Jenny Waldman said: "This past year we have all been deprived of our galleries, museums and historic houses.
"Now everyone has the power to breathe life back into their favourite museum by going with family and friends.
"These much-loved places have made heroic efforts to stay afloat over the past year and are now ready to safely welcome everybody back."
Newlyweds in England are now able to share their big day with up to 30 friends and family as weddings take another step back to normality.
Covid restrictions remain present, however, and while social distancing between people who do not live together is not required, guests must still wear face coverings and are advised not to dance.
The Weddings Taskforce, set up with the support of the Government to represent the sector, said 94% of weddings - 261,883 - did not go ahead as planned last year, as well as about another 100,000 over the first half of this year.
Taskforce spokeswoman Sarah Haywood said: "We expect in excess of 800,000 weddings within the first two years of a resumption of full trading, made up of those that were already due to take place and the backlog due to the pandemic restrictions."
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There is a "huge amount of pent-up demand" for cinemas and confidence in the industry is "unshaken", the general manager of Vue in the UK and Ireland has said, as thousands of multiplexes reopen their doors.
The cinema chain will open all its venues in England, Scotland and Wales on Monday with new releases including Peter Rabbit 2, featuring the voice of James Corden, and Spiral: From The Book Of Saw, starring Chris Rock, and classic films such as The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, Taxi Driver and Grease.
Odeon cinemas will also reopen.
Cineworld, which announced the closure of 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse sites last October, will begin reopening from Wednesday May 19.
Toby Bradon, general manager of Vue entertainment in UK and Ireland, told the PA news agency: "There's a huge amount of pent-up demand out there, and we want to get that out there and meet that pent-up demand.
"We know that our customers are really keen to get back into the cinemas and we've got a great line-up of films.
"We do know from the customer research we've done that people believe you can't recreate that big-screen experience at home. It's a point of differentiation.
"People want the big screen, they want the sound, the seats, the whole experience, the popcorn that goes with it, and they recognise you can't get that from your sofa.
"We're in some unprecedented times, so it's quite difficult to judge exactly what it's going to look like but our confidence in the industry is unshaken."
The revival of London's West End will begin on Monday as theatres start to reopen and cast members scramble to fit back in their costumes.
However, in this region it's likely to be a little longer, with the majority of theatres either not opening yet or planning special outdoor events.
Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, billed as the longest running show in the world, will resume at St Martin's Theatre for the first time since the pandemic closed theatres in March 2020.
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It will feature a new company including Strictly Come Dancing star Danny Mac, West End regular Cassidy Janson and soap actors Nicholas Bailey, Charlie Clements and Susan Penhaligon, as well as children's TV star Derek Griffiths.
Musical Everybody's Talking About Jamie, which was inspired by the 2011 television documentary Jamie: Drag Queen At 16, and follows a teenager who lives on a council estate in Sheffield as he overcomes prejudice to become a drag queen, will reopen on May 20, as will Amelie The Musical, based on the hit film.
PUBS AND RESTAURANTS
Pub and restaurant bosses have said that welcoming customers back into thousands of venues across the country will help the sector "back on to the path to normality".
On Monday, pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to serve customers inside for the first time in at least four months amid the latest easing of lockdown measures.
Groups of six or two households will be able to enjoy meals and drinks inside venues, in a move which will see thousands of places with limited outdoor space reopen for the first time since the third lockdown hit.
However, industry bosses have stressed that there are still challenges ahead as restrictions, such as table service and social distancing, continue to hinder profitability.
Patrick Dardis, chief executive of London-based pub owner and brewer Young's, told the PA news agency that he will "find it hard to relax" until restrictions ease dramatically on June 21.
"I am excited because it is a major step forward for us and our customers," he said.
"The past few weeks have been really positive and trade has been better than expected but we're still losing money.
"The weather has been pretty dire and people are hardy but we really needed this next step to come."
According to the real estate adviser Altus Group, 99,045 indoor hospitality premises in England will be able to reopen on May 17 as a result of changes to restrictions
The restart of indoor exercise classes and organised sport is a "vital" step forward for millions of people, the sector says.
In England, indoor group exercise and indoor organised sport are now safe to reopen under the latest phase of the road map, with providers following Government-approved safety guidelines on sanitation, ventilation and social distancing to ensure participants can return safely and confidently.
Alongside group activities, saunas and steam rooms within spas and indoor leisure facilities and children's play areas can also reopen.
In Wales, group activities reopened on May 3, restricted to 15 people per class, but will be extended to 30 people from May 17.
A recent survey by Sport England found that more than seven million people in England were regularly using fitness classes before the pandemic. Women made up some 76% of participants of group exercise classes.
During the pandemic, financial pressures had resulted in the loss of around 400 gyms, pools and leisure facilities across the UK, with thousands more remaining under threat, ukactive said.
Ukactive chief executive Huw Edwards said: "Group exercise classes and indoor sports are loved by millions of people across the UK so it's great to see them start to return.
"Through these popular community activities, our members have become the engine room of physical activity in our nations, making their reopening a vital moment for our physical and mental recovery.
"However, our sector still needs support and we will continue to fight hard for the financial and regulatory help which is urgently required so that as many facilities as possible are able to survive and recover fully.
"Our members have shown tremendous courage and resilience in the harshest of environments, having to make tough operational decisions while facing no income during this period of lockdown. It's time to support these vital facilities to play their fullest role in our nation's health and wellbeing."