Andrew Lloyd Webber has urged the government to look to South Korea’s track and trace approach when thinking about how audiences could return to venues.
The impresario has written to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport warning that implementing two-metre distance is not possible for theatres as he suggests the tactics employed by South Korea could offer "the beginning of a road map back to socially distanced live entertainment".
In a letter seen by the Daily Mail, Lloyd Webber asked culture secretary Oliver Dowden to consider a system of testing, tracking and tracing in order to control the spread of Covid-19.
Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera continues to play in Seoul, where theatres have remained open during the pandemic, with audiences required to wear masks and staff given PPE, while temperature checks are mandatory.
According to the Daily Mail, his letter highlighted the ’traffic light’ system the country is using for large gatherings, which indicates individuals’ danger levels at the time of booking and attendance.
Theatres also have a 15-day quarantine in place, which means if an audience member, performer or member of staff develops symptoms, everyone in attendance is contacted, tested and required to isolate until results are confirmed.
The country has fewer than 300 deaths from Covid-19, despite having a population of 51 million.
Last week, leading lighting and AV supplier White Light also called for the government to recognise that social distancing will not be viable for the theatre and live events industry.
The company’s managing director Bryan Raven said any two-metre regulations should be carried out in conjunction with face covering and additional hygiene measures, and should be advisory not compulsory.