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Government relaxes lockdown restrictions, pilot events to continue

The UK Government has confirmed a relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England, paving the way for business and sport pilot events to resume.

Exact details of the pilot business events have not been publicly revealed.

In an announcement released at 11pm, 13 August, prime minister Boris Johnson warned that the Government “will not hesitate to put on the brakes if required, or to continue to implement local measures to help to control the spread of the virus”.

After the prime minister’s speech on 31 July, in which he outlined extended restrictions effective 1 August, there was confusion about the impact on the events industry, but today’s announcement suggests the conditional 1 October restart date is looking more likely.

The announcement said that pilots will take place at conference venues “ahead of the expected resumption of business events from 1 October at the earliest”.

The piloting of a small number of sporting events to test the safe return of spectators will also resume, starting with the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre over the weekend.

Other parts of the economy are also planned to reopen on 15 August, including indoor theatre, music and performance venues will be able to reopen with socially distanced audiences, wedding receptions for up to 30 people.

Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and soft play centres will be allowed to reopen. Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques are among venues that remain closed in law.

The prime minister said that plans to open up more of the economy this weekend “will allow more people to return to work and the public to get back to more of the things they have missed”.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will assess their own timings for the easing of restrictions.