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Covid reopening – our response 

WGGB has responded to the Government’s announcement yesterday (12 July 2021) that full reopening will go ahead next Monday (July 19).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that full unlocking will take place in England, although there was a marked shift in tone from extolling ‘freedom day’ to urging extreme caution, amidst projections of an exit wave that could see an estimated 200 deaths and 2,000 hospitalisations a day.

Other announcements included the use of the NHS Covid Pass at clubs, concerts and other large events, and additional recommended restrictions for the 3.7 million clinically extremely vulnerable.

WGGB General Secretary Ellie Peers said:

“We are aware that these are anxious times for our members, particularly as there has been mixed public health messaging from Government in recent days and it will be far from freedom day for those who for medical reasons were forced to shield during previous waves of the virus.

“Added to that, the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is due to wind down in September, there are still three million self-employed who have been excluded from all support and we now know that the £20 uplift to Universal Credit will also be axed from the autumn.

“We welcome the announcement that from next week theatres in England will be able to open at full capacity for the first time in 16 months, yet we know that with the recent increase in Covid cases, venues are already having to cancel performances as a result of self-isolation requirements on cast and crew. With no alternative to self-isolation until 16 August, when the system will be revised, we fear that theatres and audiences will be hit hard just as they are finally tasting freedom.

“The promised insurance scheme for theatre can’t come soon enough and we urge the Government to make this an urgent priority.

“We will continue to support our members and keep writers’ rights on the agenda as we have done throughout the pandemic and we urge any member who needs help to get in touch.”

Sources of support for writers during Covid-19, including mental health, funding and more, can be found here.