What is the government's Seat Out To Help Out Scheme?

SEAT Out To Help Out is a government backed scheme offering cut-price tickets to theatre and sporting events.

Similar to the successful Eat Out to Help Out initiative, it is designed to help people back to events and give the industry a much-needed boost.

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What is the Seat Out to Help Out scheme?

The scheme is still in the planning stages and nothing has been finalised but it is thought it will created along similar lines to the Eat Out to Help Out which was aimed at helping restaurants attract diners to eat out again after the coronavirus lockdown.

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. 

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. 

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

With current social distancing regulations in place, venues can only operate at 25 per cent capacity. 

But ministers have been told that, for the reopening of venues to be financially viable, this figure would need to be between 70 per cent and 80 per cent. 

How does the scheme work?

The exact details are yet to be revealed.

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.”

The Sun revealed ministers want to have full audiences back in theatres in time for pantomime season.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has named the Christmas target as 'Operation Sleeping Beauty’.

It comes amid dire warnings from the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber that missing pantomime season would be the death knell for the industry.

Industry insiders said the pantomime season is so lucrative for theatres that it often pays for losses incurred by productions during the rest of the year because shows are sell-outs and performances are put together relatively cheaply.

A government source added: “It would also give families across the country a much-needed boost after what has been a pretty s*** year.”

What sport and theatre tickets will be cheaper?

Theatres were officially reopened with socially distanced audiences at reduced capacity on August 15.

However, the majority around the country remain closed.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Dowden said theatre is the “lynchpin of London’s West End”.

He wrote: “We need to start filling seats in much larger numbers – not just for the audiences, not just for the venues and livelihoods who depend on them, but for the entire urban economy, too.

“Theatre is a lynchpin of London’s West End and its absence is painfully reflected in its deserted streets. Innovation is key.

“It has the ability to rewrite the entire script, and I’m keen to take some of the best experimental ideas for getting people into our theatres safely and put them into practice.”

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