THE Courtyard in Hereford says it will be doing all it can to keep customers safe amid new Covid rules for theatres and cinemas.

Anyone going to the theatre or cinema in England will now have to wear a mask as part of extra measures unveiled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week.

It came as concern grew of the Omicron coronavirus variant, with two suspected cases found in Herefordshire.

But with pantomime performances in full swing at The Courtyard in Hereford's Edgar Street, the theatre has said it will work to keep customers safe.

"We have adopted ways to encourage audience members to keep their masks on throughout their visit here, even before it was mandatory," a spokesperson said, adding the theatre always anticipated masks becoming compulsory.


"We send pre-show emails, have lots of signage in the building and our front of house team and stewards issue reminders.

"We are an accessible venue and need to be mindful of those who are less able to wear face coverings, or are exempt.

"We also do not wish for our staff or volunteers to encounter any confrontational situations, so there is only so far we can go when enforcing it.

"The huge majority of our customers are more than happy to oblige in order to keep everyone safer."

They also said that in line with government guidelines, children over the age of 11 will be required to wear face coverings, unless exempt.


On top of that, The Courtyard said it was offering a selection of reduced capacity performances of pantomime, children’s Christmas show and cinema screenings, or blocking off seats next to more cautious customers.

There has also been enhanced cleaning, hand sanitiser points, and asking audience members to check in with the NHS Test and Trace app and to show their Covid status when attending an event in the main house.

While performances of Jack and the Beanstalk started in November, and run through until early January, new mask rules came into force in England last week.


At the nearby Odeon cinema in Hereford's Old Market Shopping Centre, the firm said it was "committed to providing a safer cinema experience".

"Measures and protocols are in place in our cinemas for your safety, wellbeing and enjoyment," it said.

It said there was enhanced cleaning in cinemas, and customers were encouraged to use contactless payments and said face masks must be worn unless eating, drinking or exempt.

"In line with government advice relating to public settings, we encourage guests to use lateral flow testing before attending our cinemas," it added.

On Sunday, the target for giving every adult in England a booster jab has been brought forward by a month over fears of a “tidal wave of Omicron” that could cause “very many deaths”.

Boris Johnson, in a pre-recorded address to the nation, said Britain “must urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection” as he set a new deadline of jabbing everyone over 18 by the new year.

He said scientists had discovered that being fully vaccinated is “simply not enough” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus mutation and that, without a lightning speed mass booster campaign, the NHS could be overwhelmed.

The mission to administer millions of jabs by December 31 will see 42 military planning teams deployed across every health region, extra vaccine sites and mobile units, extended clinic opening hours to allow people to be jabbed around the clock and at weekends, and the training of thousands more volunteer vaccinators.

The announcement comes as the UK Covid alert level was raised to Level 4, up from Level 3, following a rapid increase in the number of Omicron cases being recorded.