Coronation Street showrunner Iain MacLeod has revealed that references to coronavirus will appear in the soap from late next month "like the flip of a switch".
Filming of new episodes stopped in late March as the UK entered lockdown - and the episodes currently airing on ITV were recorded before that point, without any references to the killer disease.
The cast got back to work on Tuesday, however, starting by completing a number of episodes that were partway through being filmed when production was halted.
"The remainder of incomplete episodes have been shot strictly adhering to the new measures," MacLeod told reporters in a virtual press conference. "In a manner of speaking there is something of a jump on screen. Fictionally it created a world where people were half-acknowledging and half-not, which would have been really weird.
"From 24th July it will be referenced and it's just like the flip of a switch. Very quickly we are in a post-pandemic world and I am sure there will be comments about continuity, but we have a mature audience and I think they will understand and go with it.
"We will reference it with a light touch, because the world has been living with this for many months by this stage. We will see a lot of washing hands, social distancing, discussing older relatives who are shielding and are not on camera.
"A lot of our businesses are operating as takeaways but it's possible that Roy's Rolls, for instance, might be open by the time the scenes air, but we thought it safer to bet on people not being able to be in big groups in a cafe.
"It will be mostly visually referenced rather than talking about it – the audience has talked about pretty much nothing else so we want to give them some escapism but grounded in reality. We want to stay true to what Corrie is and not turn it into a soap version of the movie Outbreak."
Coronation Street continues Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm on ITV.