Crowd curbs on indoor music and theatre events in Scotland to be lifted next week

Concert halls, theatres and festival venues will be able to return to full capacity from Monday after the Scottish Government announced the lifting of strict curbs announced just before Christmas.

Glasgow's Celtic Connections music festival is due to get underway on Thursday. Picture: Gaelle Beri
Glasgow's Celtic Connections music festival is due to get underway on Thursday. Picture: Gaelle Beri

Capacity limits and physical distancing measures which came into force on Boxing Day and forced the cancellation of hundreds of shows and events will be dropped.

The government is also to relax guidance that people should stick to a three-household limit when socialising together.

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However more venues are expected to have to grapple with Scotland’s Covid certification scheme from Monday after the government said it should be applied at all events for 1000 people or more.

The Celtic Connections music festival gets underway on 20 January. Picture: Gaelle Beri

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    Organisers must check at least 50 per of attendees or 1000 people – whichever figure is higher – for proof of vaccination or a negative lateral flow test from next week.

    However the Scottish Government has stopped short of introducing the measures in all venues and hospitality businesses after deciding there is growing evidence of a “significant fall” in the number of new Covid cases over the last fortnight.

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    The restrictions on indoor events, announced on 21 December and effective from Boxing Day, imposed a 200-capacity limit on all-seater indoor events and a 100-capacity curb on either fully or partially unseated events. Venues were also told to ensure one metre physical distancing was enforced on audiences.

    Concert promoters, theatres and festival organisers were left disappointed last week when the government delayed a decision on their fate, but gave the green light for major outdoor events to return to full capacity.

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    However Ms Sturgeon said the “improving situation” with Covid meant that the measures introduced to tackle the surge of the Omicron variant could be lifted from Monday.

    She said: “It is important to stress this point: notwithstanding the improving situation, the level of Covid infection circulating in the community is still high.

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    "So to minimise the risk of us getting the virus it would be sensible for all of us to remain cautious in our social interactions at this stage.

    "Even though from Monday we will no longer recommend a fixed upper limit on numbers of households, if we all continue to keep gatherings as small as our circumstances allow for now - until the end of this month - we will reduce our risks of infection.

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    “And, of course, we should continue to take lateral flow tests before meeting up with people from other households.”

    Geoff Ellis, chief executive of DF Concerts, Scotland’s biggest concert promoter, said: “The message now is very positive for the remainder of 2022 - buy tickets, let’s get the shows on the road and get back to enjoying live music.

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    “There is a proverbial feast of live music, with a plethora of diverse and interesting events. throughout the year.

    “There are lots of announcements still to come from us over the next couple of months from us, including the exciting and eclectic Connect line up, the full programme for the all new Colourboxx festival in Glasgow; more shows and the full line-ups for The Big Top in Edinburgh and the next headliner for Dundee Summer Sessions, as well as a few more artists for TRNSMT too.”