Customs House to 'suspend all programme until further notice' at South Shields venue over coronavirus risk

The Customs House has said it will not host any further shows “until further notice” after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people should avoid theatres to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Ray Spencer, executive director of the Customs House Trust Ltd, tweeted tonight, Monday, March 16, to say the South Shields venue will put a stop to its programme.

It comes after Mr Johnson said late today that people should “avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues," in his latest address about the COVID-19 outbreak.

The virus has already claimed 55 lives across the UK, with 1,543 confirmed cases in total so far and 152 new cases recorded today – 52 people have recovered from the illness as it stands.

Mr Spencer – @rayspencermbe – tweeted: “IMPORTANT: My dear friends, as we already have an audience here @thecustomshouse, tonight’s South Shields on Film is going ahead.

“However, as of midnight tonight we are suspending all programme until further notice.

“We will make the necessary refunds and would ask you to keep the faith.

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The Customs House in Mill Dam, South Shields, has moved to cancel its programme following the advice of the Government over the coronavirus outbreak.

“If you can be patient with our box office and, wherever possible, rebook a new date.

“Hope you will appreciate we are currently inundated with calls and customers, we will do our best to get through this.

“These are hugely challenging times please keep safe and hopefully viral free.”

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Ray Spencer tweeted a message to visitors to the Customs House explaining it had decided to put a pause on its shows because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Johnson said anyone who had – or lived with someone – with one of the two symptoms, a high temperature or a continuous cough, should stay at home for 14 days.

He also said those who have not experienced symptoms should take extra action and now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel and should start working from home "where they possibly can".