The Scottish Government have, again, decreed that gatherings of over 200 people indoors are prohibited, supposedly because of the need to protect us all from COVID-19. An admirable aim, perhaps.

However, the guidance (the Regulations haven't been published yet, but that's a different rant) has this exception (No doubt because churches sued the government) ;

Capacity limits do not apply when being used as a place of worship

A theatre and a church are, physically, rather similar - a bunch of people (generally seated) watching something on a 'stage'. The virus doesn’t care one iota about the nature of the performance.

Also, most theatres have multiple entry points that can be controlled to keep sections isolated (e.g. the circle from the stalls) whereas most churches have a single shared foyer.

Most audiences of a theatre show arrive in a small group and, not knowing anyone else in the auditorium, leave after the show. Most church congregations are social, and they will socialise with each other before and after the ‘event’

But beyond the physical similarities, people are typically part of a church because they believe in something uplifting, something that - if you were to deprive them of - would lead to misery and depression. Well, you know what, that's what theatre is too for many.

Both are escapes into a world of fantasy where we find comfort. In the case of those of us who work in or around theatre and the arts, the people we know through the theatre are our 'congregation'

Yet again, The Scottish Government take ill-considered blunt actions that disproportionately affect one specific sector and appear to show utter contempt for the arts, the livlihoods of those who work in them, whilst bowing to religous dogma for the fear of offending the wrong people.

If over 200 people in one space genuinely represents a serious risk to health, then the capacity limits should apply to all assemblies of over 200 people, whatever the purpose of that assembly.

If our churches are 'safe enough' - so are our theatres.