Monday, July 6, 2020

Coronavirus: Quarantine rules relaxed for sports teams and film crews

bbc.com

New quarantine exemptions will allow major sporting events, as well as TV and film productions, to go ahead this summer, the government has said.

Some sports teams and production crews will not have to quarantine upon arrival in England if they are essential to the event or production.

The scheme gives the green light for Formula One, international football, golf and snooker tournaments to return.

It comes as pubs, hairdressers and restaurants reopened in England.

Many pubs welcomed back customers in droves on Saturday, but fears that emergency services could be as busy as New Year’s Eve appear not to have been realised.

However, London’s Soho district attracted large crowds in the evening, while Devon and Cornwall Police said they received more than 1,000 reports on Saturday, most of which were “drink-related”.

In north Nottinghamshire, four people were arrested and several pubs decided to close after alcohol related anti-social behaviour.

John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation for England and Wales, said his shift in Southampton made it “crystal clear” that drunk people “can’t/won’t socially distance”.

The government’s new quarantine exemptions mean Silverstone will be able to stage races in August, while Champions League and Europa League football, the PGA British Masters Championship and the World Snooker Championships will go ahead.

Ministers said darts, horse racing and other sports are expected to follow suit.

Announcing the scheme, which applies to England only, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The British summer of sport is back on.”

Under the new rules, sports authorities, event organisers and the film and TV industry would need to follow “stringent protocols” to become exempt from the 14-day quarantine rule.

At the moment, most travellers to the UK must quarantine for two weeks. However, from 10 July, people arriving in England from dozens of countries deemed “low risk” will not have to isolate.

Those who earn exemption by following the new rules will have to live and work in controlled “bubbled” environments and must be tested for coronavirus regularly.

People working in the film industry will be required to remain for 14 days within a bubble that includes only their accommodation and production location.

The scheme will apply to individuals coming into England specifically to work on film and television productions which qualify as British under one of the government’s cultural tests or official co-production treaties.

It comes as the culture secretary is under increasing pressure to provide further support to the performing arts.

The government’s plan for the return of live theatre and music, announced last week, was dismissed by many in the industry as inadequate amid calls for financial help and a timetable for reopening.

Actors’ union Equity said that without investment to save jobs and venues, such guidance would be “meaningless”.