An updated list of museums, galleries, cinemas, libraries and performance venues

After months of closure - and the loss of vital income for many - cultural venues were amongst those allowed to reopen from Saturday 4th July, following the likes of shops and markets from 15th June. Despite being given the green light, however, relatively few have announced opening dates: the logistics of adhering to COVID-19 measures - from sanitation to social distancing  - is a challenge, while reduced capacities necessitate a further blow to budgets already severely under strain. The City Council is now asking for £71.8 million to help Manchester's cultural life 'repair, restart and rethink' as it emerges from lockdown. 

Here are the venues that have confirmed when they are reopening (with suitable measures in place) so far. This list is subject to change and will be regularly updated.


HOME - phased from 4th September

2020 06 29 Home Reopening
HOME plans to open its cinemas and dining spaces first, followed by its theatres and galleries


The below galleries have a primarily non-retail focus; retail galleries were able to open from 15th June  

AIR Gallery - 8th July

National Football Museum - 23rd July

Imperial War Museum North - 1st August 

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House - 12th August

Salford Museum & Art Gallery - August (date TBA)

The Whitworth - September (date TBA)

People's History Museum - 1st September 

The Weavers Factory - March 2021

The Whitworth 1 Oxford Rd Photo By Alan Williams Press
While Whitworth Park is open, the gallery remains closed until September Alan Williams Press


ODEON Trafford Centre - 4th July

ODEON Rochdale - 13th July

ODEON Great Northern - 16th July

Cineworld (all branches) - 31st July


Manchester Libraries - phased from 4th July (other GM boroughs may be different)

Portico Library - 1st September

Manchester Skysline Beetham Central Library Midland Hotel Peter Street 456


With live shows still not permitted, most performance venues - including theatre, comedy and music - remain closed as they wait for a timeline to work towards. Caught in a fatal limbo, the industry was on the brink of collapse until the government finally stepped in by announcing a £1.57 billion rescue fund on 5th July. 

Two days later saw venues across the North - including performance venues like the Royal Exchange, Lowry, Met, Oldham Coliseum, HOME and Band on the Wall - offered £9 million in total from Fund 3 (NPOs) of the £160 million Arts Council emergency package announced in March. While concerns remain for the sector, both funds have been a vital short-term helping hand.

Royal Exchange 2
The Royal Exchange Theatre, forced to enter redundancy talks in early July, has since been offered vital funding

On Thursday 9th July, it was announced that outdoor events could go ahead (subject to social distancing) as part of a wave of relaunches also including health and beauty venues from Saturday 11th July. Alongside festivals and some sports, these comprise theatre shows and concerts. Culture secretary Oliver Dowden also revealed that a number of indoor performances would be piloted to help plan how and when performance venues can reopen, heralding stage three of the government's roadmap for relaunching the live entertainment industry. Measures will include reduced capacities and electronic ticketing, in case visitor details are needed for the track and trace system.

Guidelines for future performances have also been published - including reduced casts and extra social distancing (three metres) for singers, wind and brass players - while empty venues will be protected from demolition or change of use.

2020 07 09 O2 Ritz Qubek
A mural by local artist Qubek on O2 Ritz reminds us ‘this is just an interval’ - but how long will the likes of theatres and music venues have to wait?

What could open from 4th July?

  • Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
  • Places of worship
  • Libraries
  • Community centres
  • Restaurants, cafes and workplace canteens
  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Cinemas
  • Bingo halls
  • Theatres and concert halls, but no live music
  • Museums and galleries
  • Hair salons and barbers
  • Outdoor playgrounds
  • Outdoor gyms
  • Funfairs, theme parks and adventure parks and activities
  • Amusement arcades
  • Outdoor skating rinks
  • Other indoor leisure centres or facilities, including indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues
  • Social clubs
  • Model villages
  • Indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction

Read more: COVID-19 - Manchester events cancelled or postponed