Govt to launch SEAT Out to Help Out offering cut-price tickets to live sport and theatre to help save events industry
THE government is set to launch a “seat out to help out” scheme offering cut-price tickets to live sport and theatre in a bid to save the ailing events industry, according to reports.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden last week ordered Whitehall officials to “move at extreme pace” to get Brits back into large venues – with hopes that mass testing may be the key to getting the industry back to life.
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It comes amid government plans to ramp up testing to millions of people a day as part of ‘Operation Moonshot’.
Whitehall officials believe that new saliva tests, which give results in minutes, could allow for the reopening of large events.
Under the new proposals, anyone with a ticket to a venue could be tested in advance – and then chased up a few days after the event.
November 1 is the earliest date at which social distancing might be lifted for venues under the current roadmap, The Sunday Times reports.
It could be tickets for a tenner on a Monday, with a link to local restaurants
A government source told the paper: “Rapid testing is seen as the thing that can unlock the issue of getting audiences back.
“There have been meetings this week. Direction has been given at a very senior level to work at extreme pace on this.
“The PM is keen on making rapid progress.”
With current social distancing regulations in place, venues can only operate at 25% capacity.
But ministers have been told that, for the reopening of venues to be financially viable, this figure would need to be between 70% and 80%.
The same team behind the government’s highly successful “Eat Out to Help Out” campaign has reportedly been drafted in again to work on the new scheme.
One idea also being floated in Whitehall is that restaurants and theatres could team up in offering cut-price deals on a Monday.
A government source told the Sunday Times: “It could be tickets for a tenner on a Monday, with a link to local restaurants.”
It comes amidst ongoing financial worries for the embattled culture industry, which has seen revenue plunge during the coronavirus lockdown.
While the hospitality and retail industry have enjoyed a phased reopening, the majority of cultural and sporting venues remain closed as a result of social distancing guidelines.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already given £1.57bn in aid to a cultural recovery fund, though fears persist that many venues could face insolvency in the near future.
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