The Prime Minister said the “show must go on” as MPs pleaded with him to support areas of the economy that are unable to reopen yet due to Covid-19 safety fears.
Theatres were highlighted by a London MP worried about the effect the lockdown was having on the long-term viability.
Tory MP Nickie Aiken (Cities of London and Westminster) – whose constituency takes in the capital’s theatre district – called for the venues to be able to open again “as soon as it is safe to do so”.
Responding, Mr Johnson said:
The show must go on. I know the power of the theatres of London’s West End and the entire cultural industry in London, not just as a magnet for our country but the sheer revenues they deliver. We want you going as fast as you possibly can and we want to get life for theatres and for theatregoers back to normal as fast as we possibly can.
Mr Johnson added: “But to do that, we have to defeat this disease and that is what this Government is engaged in.”
The impact of lockdown has already hit arts venues of all shapes and sizes. London's West End, all but closed since the beginning of March, could be "decimated" by the crisis theatre directors have warned.
Already musical giants Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, Hamilton and The Phantom Of The Opera have announced they will not return until 2021.