Washington-Audiences who adhere to social distancing can return to indoor theaters, music and performance venues beginning Aug. 1, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday (July 17). The policy represents the fourth phase in the country’s five-stage reopening plan for live events.

In the lead up to the August start date, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will conduct pilots of performances with socially-distanced audiences -- including the London Symphony Orchestra at St. Luke’s London -- using the findings there to inform final guidance for venues. The announcement notes that “audiences, performers and venues will be expected to maintain social distancing at all times,” with measures to include reduced capacity, online ticket purchases to reduce person-to-person contact, social distancing markers, increased deep cleaning measures, staggered performance schedules and maintaining social distance between performers where possible. “The UK’s performing arts sector is renowned across the world and I am pleased that we are making real progress in getting its doors reopened to the public with social distancing,” said U.K. culture secretary Oliver Dowden in a statement.