New data suggests that holding mass events without face masks and social distancing pose as little risk as going shopping or to a restaurant, government trials have suggested.
Data from the UK Government’s events research programme in Liverpool has inferred that Covid transmission is significantly reduced by screening and ventilation.
This initial data is a considerable boost in the journey to live music’s return to the UK. This adds to the growing hope that all Covid restrictions can come to an end in England as planned on June 21. The Times claims that this data strengthens the argument for events to require a “Covid-status certification” that will permit them to go ahead.
The UK Government’s events research programme saw thousands of music lovers attend a series of test events in Liverpool’s Sefton Park over the May Bank Holiday weekend. The likes of Sven Vath, Blossoms and Fatboy Slim played to a crow without any Covid restrictions. Other events that took place as part of the programme included the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield and the 2021 BRIT Awards in London. All attendees were required to obtain a negative Covid test prior to entry.
A government insider told the Times: “We are still waiting for the final bits of data but the results so far have been very encouraging.” They continued, “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 that you can do to make these settings as safe as other daily activities.”
The source concluded, “It is true that they are not going to be 100 per cent safe but you can lower the risk to a reasonable level.”
UK festival bosses will welcome the news. Last week, Melvin Benn, head of Festival Republic, revealed their plans to host a 10,000 capacity event next month. This will be done to test the safe return of live events in the UK this summer.
Prior to the government’s test events, Benn said these preliminary shows would give the public the chance to “behave as though COVID had never happened”. The boss stated, “This will be the first gig in the Northern hemisphere where it’s a proper show, with 5,000 people not socially distanced, not having to wear masks, with bars and food stalls in the arena, and it will feel like a mini version of a festival”.
He maintained that “the whole world will be looking at it. You know how many gigs I’ve been involved in, but this is the most historic. I’m just so excited by it.”
UK festivals such as Reading & Leeds, Latitude and Wireless are all scheduled for this summer.
Watch footage from the Liverpool trial events below.