A POPULAR Bury music and entertainment venue has announced it is reopening following the coronavirus pandemic.

The Met will begin a phased reopening from August, and will welcome back staff and workshop users first.

It has also announced more livestream gigs which will be broadcast from the Market Street venue over the coming weeks.

However, The Met has stressed that a return to ‘business as normal’ is some way off for its live music, comedy and theatre programme.

But it is hoped these will be an important first step towards welcoming back live entertainment and audiences.

The Met’s Chief Executive Officer Victoria Robinson said “It’s exciting that we can begin to come back to the building and offer just a small part of what we do for young people who have desperately missed the creativity and sociability that an arts centre can offer.

“But for the whole sector of grassroots live music venues like us the lockdown and restrictions continue to mean a truly existential challenge.

"While August is a chance for us to work safely on what we can do during the rest of 2020, there is still a long way to go before we can safely and sustainably welcome packed crowds back to the venue in the way we did before this outbreak.”

Bury Times: Graeme Park DJs at The Met, Bury, for United We StreamGraeme Park DJs at The Met, Bury, for United We Stream

Many of the planned events at The Met on sale for the remainder of 2020 are likely to be rescheduled for dates in 2021, the venue said.

It added that it will be working hard to figure out which events can go ahead, and when ­— with customer safety being the main priority.

Moreover, limited capacities, distanced seating and changes to how customers move around the building are said to likely be part of how The Met will operate in the short-to-mid term.

From next week some of The Met's staff will return to work at the historic arts centre, although many will continue to work from home as much as possible.

This will see a partial return to box office services over the phone, but not in person, on weekdays.

There are also plans to restart selected activities at The Met in limited group sizes.

Among the first workshops to recommence will be children's drama classes.

Meanwhile, the venue has confirmed that streamed events will continue throughout this year.

During lockdown The Met became the home of United We Stream and drew in millions of viewers for events featuring Elbow, The Killers, Clint Boon, comedian Jon Richardson, poet Tony Walsh and more.

Gigs from The Lottery Winners, taking place tonight, and The Slow Readers Club, on August 7, are now on-sale.

Bury Times: Victoria Robinson, The Met's chief executive, and Helen Clayton, the new chairmanVictoria Robinson, The Met's chief executive, and Helen Clayton, the new chairman

Victoria said: “Streaming is a vital chance for venues like us, and the artists who rely on small and mid-sized venues to make a living, to keep reaching fans and raising money.

“We’re proud of what our team has been able to contribute to during lockdown and hope music fans across the region will continue to support the venue and artists by buying tickets for these unique events.

“We love live music and we know livestreams are a different proposition, but they are a way to help support our sector until we can welcome crowds back to the venue.”

However, running shows with reduced capacities will not be sustainable, The Met said.

It added: "We want to thank the Arts Council for their grant from the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund which has helped us reach this point.

"There remains more work to do while we wait on clarification of how government support for our sector will be delivered."