When will museums, cinemas and galleries reopen in England? Date venues returned as lockdown rules eased

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a number of changes to lockdown rules in England on Tuesday 23 June

This cinema in Prague asks customers to wear protective masks and sit apart in observance of social distancing measures - could movie theatres in the UK lock similar after 4 July? (Photo: Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images)

One major aspect of everyday life that was once heavily restricted under lockdown involved leisure facilities like museums, galleries and cinemas.

Sure, there were virtual gallery and museum tours, and some of the biggest movies of recent months released exclusively on streaming services, but there can be no substitute for getting out and enjoying the real thing.

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Pubs, restaurants and cinemas to begin reopening in latest easing of lockdown
Museums and galleries will have to implement social distancing measure to reopen safely (Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

So when were residents in England be able to enjoy some of these popular pastimes again?

Here's everything you need to know:

When will cinemas, museums and galleries reopen in England?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a number of changes to lockdown rules in England on Tuesday 23 June, as the country approached phase three of its exit plan.

Those changes included the reopening of cinemas, museums and galleries from Saturday 4 July, and venues closed since the middle of March can now welcome visitors as long as safety measures are in place.

Mr. Johnson outlined his plans in Parliament.

Some scientists expressed concern the Government is moving too quickly, and that its track-and-trace system to contain any fresh outbreaks is not fully up and running.

Will things go back to normal right away?

Even though cinemas, galleries and museums can be reopened, it may be a while until the experience of visiting them is quite like it was before Covid-19, and these facilities are reopen subject to physical distancing and hygiene measures.

Booking systems will be updated to allow friends and family to sit together while ensuring a safe distance between customers from different households in cinemas, and film times will be staggered to reduce customers cross paths with other customers going in or out of other screens and buildup of crowds in the foyer.

Plastic screens will be installed at concessions areas where safe distancing cannot be maintained, and hand sanitiser stations will be provided for both customers and employees.

As for galleries and museums, it’s likely similar measure will be in place to keep patrons at a safe distance for one another, and these could include reducing the maximum capacity of buildings, and making the wearing of face covering compulsory.

When was the two metre rule be reduced?

Of course, social distancing measures once centred on the ‘two metre rule’, which stated people from separate households shouldn’t come within two metres of each other where possible, to avoid the spread of the virus.

From 4 July, the rule was revised to “one metre plus”.

That means that while you should attempt to stay two metres apart from others where you can, where it is impossible, one metre is acceptable.