Cinemas, Galleries And Museums In England To Reopen On July 4

Boris Johnson to ease coronavirus lockdown further as UK emerges from outbreak.

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Cinemas, museums and galleries in England can reopen their doors from July 4, Boris Johnson is expected to announce.

But venues will have to operate under strict new coronavirus guidance, which is likely to include one-way systems, spaced queuing, increased ventilation, and pre-booked tickets.

Downing Street sources say the prime minister will unveil the much-anticipated reopening date on Tuesday after taking guidance from top experts on the Covid-19 committee on Monday.

It comes amid a series of stark warnings about the country’s ailing arts and culture sector, with the lockdown severely hitting revenues.

The PM is also expected to outline changes to the two-metre social distancing rule in a statement to parliament.

A cut in the distance - the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends one-metre - seen as crucial to kickstarting the economy, with many retail and office spaces otherwise having to remain shut.

<strong>Prime minister Boris Johnson outside Downing Street </strong>
Prime minister Boris Johnson outside Downing Street

The PM will also strongly underline to the public that they must continue to stick to the rules to avoid a second spike in the disease.

A Number 10 source said: “We are only able to move forward this week because the vast majority of people have taken steps to control the virus.

“But the more we open up, the more important it is that everyone follows the social distancing guidelines.

“We will not hesitate to reverse these steps if it is necessary to stop the virus running out of control.”

Ministers are likely to face further calls from the arts sector for help, however.

A report by Oxford Economics earlier this month warned of a “cultural catastrophe” as it predicted 400,000 job and £74bn in annual revenue could be lost across the arts industry due to the shutdown.

Almost 100 cultural leaders had written an open letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak and culture secretary Oliver Dowden in the Guardian last week, warning theatre, opera and dance need urgent investment after the crisis saw a massive loss of revenue.

The names included Phoebe Waller-Bridge, James McAvoy, Sharon D Clarke, Tom Stoppard, Wendell Pierce, Emma Rice and Andrew Scott.