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Live industry welcomes relaxation of COVID travel rules in the UK

By | Published on Thursday 29 July 2021

Live music

The live sector has welcomed the news that the UK government is relaxing current COVID rules regarding people entering England from abroad, reducing the requirement to quarantine on arrival.

For the live music sector – even as venues are able to reopen and full capacity shows can resume as COVID rules lift – ongoing restrictions on international travel remain a problem for artists planning multi-territory touring activity, and for festivals and venues looking to book international talent.

Currently the rules regarding quarantining when entering England from countries on the government’s ‘amber list’ are different for those who have been fully vaccinated in the UK and those who have been fully vaccinated abroad. While the former only need to get COVID tests before and after travel, the latter are required to quarantine for ten days and take an additional test eight days after arrival.

Obviously for non-British performers the quarantine requirement can make playing here unviable, even when a performer is fully vaccinated and taking regular COVID tests.

However, from next week those travelling to England from the US or amber list countries in Europe – and who have received vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency or US Food And Drug Administration – will no longer need to quarantine on arrival. So, basically, the same rules will apply as for those who have been vaccinated in the UK.

Announcing the change, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy”.

“We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data”, he added, “but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme, we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbours”.

Welcoming this development, Greg Parmley from live industry trade group LIVE said: “We are extremely pleased to see that government has taken the decision to allow people into the UK without the need to quarantine, if they have been fully vaccinated in Europe or the USA”.

“This will allow international artists to perform at our world-leading festivals and venues over the coming months”, he added, “and will provide a vital boost to our iconic live music industry as we come out of lockdown”.