Spectators can return to outdoor sport - and concerts and theatre are coming back

Under the new tier system in England, large scale indoor and outdoor events will be permitted to return in Tiers 1 and 2.

The events will not return at full capacity in either of these tiers, however, with limits on the number of people allowed into venues, and social distancing measures in place.

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The news comes as part of the government's "Winter Plan" for coronavirus, laid out on Monday 23 November. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would see a return to tiered restrictions after the end of the national lockdown on 2 December.

"In tiers 1 and 2, spectator sport and business events can now resume inside and outside with tight capacity limits and social distancing, providing more consistency with indoor performances in theatres and concert halls," reads the government's winter plan.

In Tier 1 areas, large events will be permitted to go ahead at 50 per cent capacity, or 4,000 people outdoors, 1,000 indoors - whichever is lower. In Tier 2, capacity will also be limited to 50 per cent, or 2,000 outdoors, 1,000 indoors. Social distancing measures will apply in both instances.

Entertainment venues like theatres will once again be open in Tiers 1 and 2, with capacity limits and strict enforcement of social distancing protocol.

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The government will not allow these venues to open in Tier three because "the evidence suggests that indoor social contact is associated with a far higher degree of transmission risk than outdoor social contact."

While elite sport itself will be permitted to go ahead in Tier 3 areas, spectators will not be permitted to attend.

The tier system explained

The tiers are labelled in the same way as they were prior to the most recent lockdown, with local authority areas placed into "medium risk" (Tier 1), "high risk" (Tier 2) or "very high risk" (Tier 3) categories depending on the severity of infections and hospitalisations in each area.

The severity of restrictions in each tier, however, is set to be strengthened. In Tier 3 areas, hospitality businesses must close, (except for takeaway service) travel out of the area is not permitted, and holiday accommodation will also shut.

Also in Tier 3, entertainment venues will be closed, meaning theatres, cinemas and bowling alleys will not be operating. Drive-in events, such as outdoor cinemas, will be permitted to go ahead.