Andrew Lloyd Webber threatens to sue government if theaters don’t fully reopen from June 21

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Andrew Lloyd Webber said last night he could take ministers to court if they don’t allow theaters to run at full capacity from June 21.

The impresario said it would be “the final blow” if the easing of restrictions does not go ahead as planned later this month.

Indoor entertainment venues reopened at half capacity on May 17, but many theaters have remained closed because it is not cost-effective to play to smaller audiences.

Lord Lloyd-Webber said if theaters can’t reopen ‘100 percent’ after June 21, the issue becomes ‘what’s the legality of the whole thing?’

“If the government’s own science has told them that buildings are safe…I’ve heard it can get really difficult at that point,” he said.

“This is the last thing anyone wants to do, but at that point there would be a lawsuit because it’s their science – not ours. I would fervently hope it doesn’t have to, but I think we should consider it.’

Andrew Lloyd Webber said last night he could take ministers to court if they don't allow theaters to run at full capacity from June 21.  Pictured: Lloyd Webber (right) with Carrie Hope Fletcher, star of his new musical Cinderella

Andrew Lloyd Webber said last night he could take ministers to court if they don’t allow theaters to run at full capacity from June 21. Pictured: Lloyd Webber (right) with Carrie Hope Fletcher, star of his new musical Cinderella

The impresario said it would be “the final blow” if the easing of restrictions does not go ahead as planned later this month. Pictured: People queue up for The Show Must Go On Live at London’s Palace Theater on Wednesday

Lord Lloyd-Webber, who hopes to open his new musical Cinderella starring Carrie Hope Fletcher next month at the Gillian Lynne Theater in the West End, said he would like to ask theatergoers to wear face coverings.

He added: “We would acquiesce to whatever the government asks us to do to get 100 percent open, but we have to be 100 percent.”

He also pointed to the success of the government’s indoor events, such as the Brit Awards at the O2 arena in London and the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible in Sheffield.

Lord Lloyd-Webber said the snooker had “shown there is no increased risk of transmission of Covid in a theatre”.

“If scientists are really that concerned about everything, then they should be saying we should have a total circuit breaker and lock everything back up for two weeks.”

But, he said, effectively keeping the arts sector closed suggests the government doesn’t care. He did praise Culture Minister Oliver Dowden for “fighting very hard for us.”

Indoor entertainment venues reopened at half capacity on May 17, but many theaters have remained closed because it is not cost-effective to play to smaller audiences.  Pictured: People queue up for The Show Must Go On Live at London's Palace Theater on Wednesday

Indoor entertainment venues reopened at half capacity on May 17, but many theaters have remained closed because it is not cost-effective to play to smaller audiences.  Pictured: People queue up for The Show Must Go On Live at London's Palace Theater on Wednesday

Indoor entertainment venues reopened at half capacity on May 17, but many theaters have remained closed because it is not cost-effective to play to smaller audiences. Pictured: People queue up for The Show Must Go On Live at London’s Palace Theater on Wednesday

Will freedom be set back two weeks?

By John Stevens and Sophie Borland

The end of the lockdown could be delayed or watered down by two weeks by the government’s emergency plans if Covid hospitalizations rise, it emerged last night.

Whitehall sources confirmed that officials were working on fallback options in case ministers decide to postpone the so-called “Freedom Day” on June 21.

These include the date simply being postponed by a fortnight, or the continuation of some social distancing measures – such as face masks or working from home.

Boris Johnson insisted yesterday that it was too early to know whether Britain’s extraordinary vaccine rollout had broken the link between infections and hospitalizations and deaths.

Business leaders, hospitality chiefs and many MPs have urged Mr Johnson not to slow down, pointing out that many businesses depend on lifting all restrictions to survive.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, zero covid deaths were announced in the UK on Tuesday, while figures from the Office for National Statistics showed yesterday that Covid deaths now account for just 1.1 percent of all fatalities.

But some scientists and government advisers are still concerned that the protection afforded by the vaccines could be undermined by the Indian variant.

Boris Johnson insisted yesterday that it was too early to know whether Britain's extraordinary vaccine rollout had broken the link between infections and hospitalizations and deaths.  Pictured: Johnson holds a reception for schoolchildren in the garden of 10 . Downing Street on Wednesday

Boris Johnson insisted yesterday that it was too early to know whether Britain's extraordinary vaccine rollout had broken the link between infections and hospitalizations and deaths.  Pictured: Johnson holds a reception for schoolchildren in the garden of 10 . Downing Street on Wednesday

Boris Johnson insisted yesterday it was too early to know whether Britain’s extraordinary vaccine rollout had broken the link between infections and hospitalizations and deaths. Pictured: Johnson holds a reception for schoolchildren in the garden of 10 . Downing Street on Wednesday

Yesterday, the government’s daily update revealed 4,330 new infections — the highest single-day number in more than two months — along with 123 hospitalizations and 12 deaths.

Johnson said there was “nothing in the data at this point that means we can’t continue” June 21, but admitted it remained “ambiguous” about whether the vaccines will protect against a potential increase caused by new ones. variants.

He insisted that “we have to be so careful” because there was “no sign” of a rising infection rate.

“We always knew this was going to happen, remember we always said the unlocking steps we took would lead to an increase in infection,” he said.

Health Minister Matt Hancock also exercised caution when he held a press conference at the Jenner Institute in Oxford.

Asked if the government is considering maintaining certain restrictions after June 21, such as mask-wearing and homework assistance, he replied: “There is nothing in the data to suggest we are definitively off track, but it’s too early.” to make the decision. about June 21. We will make that decision based on more data in the next week to 10 days, before June 14.”

Mr Hancock said it was important to monitor the number of people who had received two doses of the vaccine.

Johnson said there was “nothing in the data at this point that means we can’t proceed” with a June 21 reopening, but admitted it remained “ambiguous” about whether the vaccines will protect against a potential increase. caused by new variants [File photo]

“We can see that the number of cases has increased in recent weeks, but we can also see that the vast majority of people who have ended up in hospital have not yet been fully vaccinated,” he said.

Business leaders and Tory MPs have warned the government that many companies are at risk of bankruptcy if restrictions are not lifted as planned.

Professor Sir John Bell said yesterday that the current coronavirus figures ‘don’t look too intimidating’. But the wealthy professor of medicine at Oxford University said the situation should “take a few weeks” before the government makes a final decision.

Meanwhile, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, described the latest milestones in the vaccine roll-out as an ‘incredible achievement’, with three quarters of adults in the UK having had a first dose and half in England receiving both injections.

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, said yesterday that data from the vaccination program looked ‘promising’ but warned that increasing cases could lead to the emergence of new variants.

“There are many members of the younger community who are currently unvaccinated and if the infection rate rises there is always the possibility of new variants emerging,” he added.

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