Several European countries have begun relaxing Covid restrictions amid hopes the Omicron wave has peaked in certain parts of the continent.
Large indoor events will resume and nightclubs permitted to reopen in Scotland from 24 January in acknowledgement of a “severe fall” in infection rates. Outdoor events were given the green light to welcome back spectators from 17 January.
The tightened measures had been in place since 26 December last year. First minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs the country had “turned the corner on the Omicron wave”, as reported positive cases dropped to 20,268 over the last three days compared to 36,526 in the same period last week.
In England, all remaining coronavirus measures – including mandatory self-isolation for confirmed infections – could be lifted as early as March under plans being drawn up by the government.
In Wales, the number of people allowed to attend an outdoor event rose from 50 to 500 from 15 January. From this Friday, crowds will be allowed to return to sporting events and there will be no limits on those attending outdoor events.
THE DEVELOPMENTS PROVIDE RENEWED ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE LIVE SECTOR AFTER A GROWING NUMBER OF EARLY 2022 TOURS WERE CANCELLED OR POSTPONED OVER COVID FEARS
And from Friday 28 January, nightclubs can reopen and hospitality venues will be allowed to operate normally, although Covid passes will still be required for large events, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres.
The developments provide renewed encouragement for the live sector after a growing number of early 2022 tours were cancelled or postponed over Covid fears.
However, in Sweden, a 500 capacity limit is being imposed on live events from tomorrow (19 January), although an event is permitted to host more than 500 people if the organiser divides the room so that participants from different sections do not come into contact with each other. In such cases, the 500-person limit applies to each section.
Research from the Netherlands, meanwhile, suggests the country’s 2G (covering people who have either vaccinated or recovered from Covid in the past six months) and 3G (vaccinated/recovered/tested negative) restrictions are cutting cases by just under 10% and 5% respectively.
The Dutch live sector’s hopes for a swift reopening were dashed over the weekend, with a review on the reopening of cultural venues not due to take place until 25 January.
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