Today’s announcement from the First Minister is one that has grim consequences for Scotland’s theatre industry.
In Edinburgh alone, the debut UK tours of ‘Waitress’ and ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ were due to run at both of the city’s biggest venues. This rescheduling not only causes mass inconvenience for those theatre’s customers but also leaves all of the theatre’s casual staff without pay, same can be said for all indoor venues with over 200 seats in Scotland.
While we understand that caution is necessary for dealing with coronavirus, there needs to be financial safety nets in place to support the workers who are going to go without pay for the duration of these restrictions. You cannot shut down our industry without support there for our theatre’s staff and the theatres themselves.
The fact that outdoor sporting events are going ahead with unrestricted seating, meaning that 5,000 fans can attend sports such as football with no social distancing also seems very inconsistent in terms of the safety measures the Scottish Government are taking.
The theatre industry is once again being stipulated when all of Scotland’s venues have been pushing hard for staff and patrons to stick to government guidelines since re-opening in September.
This is an ill-advised and over-cautious move from the first minister, unless there is support offered, these restrictions cannot continue without the financial support for those impacted. Not only that but the first minister herself has admitted to preparing to let Scotland “live with the virus”, and at this stage, it seems the only viable option.
Yours Sincerely, Lewis C. Baird.
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