The members of each couple on Strictly Come Dancing 2020 have formed a support bubble with each other (Picture: Guy Levy/BBC Provider: PA)
With no little difficulty, Strictly Come Dancing has returned to our screens with numerous coronavirus contingencies in place.
The 18th series of the show will be shortest in its 16-year history, with a nine-week run planned instead of the usual 13.
One of the questions on Strictly fans’ lips is how, exactly, have the show’s producers managed to get things running at all?
Here’s all you need to know.
Is there a Strictly Come Dancing audience?
There is a live studio audience for the 2020 series, but the capacity has been reduced, and all audience members are required to wear face coverings on-site.
Tickets are being allocated in batches of four, to keep groups separate from each other.
‘To make the most of the limited space we’ll have in the studio this year because of our social distancing measures, for the first time ever tickets will be allocated to groups of four, allowing you to come along as a family bubble / household group,’ the Strictly website says.
‘We’ll be able to seat family groups of four people from the same household / social bubble at cabaret tables and in balcony seating.’
Cloakroom services have also been suspended, and ticket holders are being told to stay away if they develop symptoms of the virus, or if they come into contact with somebody who has tested positive.
Are Strictly Come Dancing contestants quarantining?
Strictly’s professional dancers and some members of the crew self-isolated at home for two weeks and took two coronavirus tests before moving into an otherwise empty hotel near Elstree Film Studios, where they were able to live and work together as one household for four weeks.
This is when the group dances were rehearsed and pre-recorded, ahead of the live shows.
Are the Strictly Come Dancing couples breaking social distancing rules?
The Strictly couples are allowed to have close contact with each other because each contestant has formed a support bubble with their partner.
Support bubbles are essentially alliances that can be formed between two – but no more than two – separate households, as long as one of those households contains only one adult.
Members of a support bubble can behave as if they were members of a single household. They can visit each other’s home without social distancing, stay overnight, and visit public places together.
One person from each Strictly couple is living alone, while the other can remain with their family.
Every contestant is also being regularly tested for the virus, and they’re allowed to forego the rule of six and the wearing of face masks because they’re social-distancing from the other couples and the rest of the show’s crew.
The Strictly team has also said that the couple are in ‘Close Contact Cohorts’, an arrangement for TV industry that allows small groups of cast and crew to break social distancing measures if the measure prevent them from doing their work.
Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman adhere to social distancing rules (Picture: BBC/Guy Levy)
Why are the Strictly presenters and judges not wearing face masks?
You’ve probably noticed that the Strictly presenters and judges aren’t wearing face masks.
This is because the judges have all been given separate panels so they can remain at least two metres apart from each other, and Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman are also keeping their distance from each other and the contestants.
What happens if someone on Strictly gets coronavirus?
Anybody who develops symptoms or tests positive will be sent home to self-isolate, as will anybody in their support bubble or so-called Close Contact Cohort.
‘Unfortunately due to the current length of the recommended isolation period, a positive Covid test result may mean a couple has to withdraw from the competition,’ the show’s creators have confirmed.
Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One tonight at 7:10pm
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