Large events could be one step closer to coming back, as trials to see how they might run with extra Covid-safe measures have reportedly had positive results.
Since April, the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) has analysed the Covid risk of various large-scale indoor and outdoor events, including the Brit Awards (4,000 indoor attendees), the FA Cup Final (21,000 seated outdoor spectators) and a Liverpool club night (3,000 people dancing inside).
The pilot events have tested a range of non-pharmaceutical mitigating interventions – such as the layout of the venue, face coverings and ventilation – and all attendees took Covid tests before and after the event.
“We are still waiting for the final bits of data, but the results so far have been very encouraging,” a source told The Times.
“It will help make the case that these large events are not inherently more risky than other parts of the hospitality sector. It shows that there are things you can do to make these settings as safe as other daily activities. It is true that they are not going to be 100% safe but you can lower the risk to a reasonable level.”
The research team, who are working in partnership with local and national health authorities, will also analyse transport to and from events, duration of events, and catering and alcohol.
A full report is due to be published by the end of May.
The full reopening of nightclubs and theatres, as well as removal of limits on weddings and other major celebrations, will be subject to the final outcomes of these trials – so a lot hangs in the balance.
“It has been enormously tough for the events sector over the past year, but these pilots are a real beacon of hope as we cautiously emerge from the pandemic,” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng previously said.
“This programme will not only provide valuable scientific evidence, but also offer confidence to the industry so we can make the most of the Great British summer and host large-scale events in a way that’s safe for everybody.”