Mass events without Covid restrictions are “as risky as going shopping”, data reveals

That's according to initial data from the UK Government's events research programme

Holding mass events without face masks and social distancing pose as little risk as going to a shopping centre or restaurant, initial data from government trials has suggested.

According to The Times, data from the UK Government’s events research programme in Liverpool revealed that coronavirus transmission can be significantly reduced when factors such as screening and improved ventilation are introduced.

The preliminary data marks a huge boost for the return of live music in the UK, and the  hope that all Covid restrictions can come to an end in England as planned on June 21.

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The Times also claims that the data will strengthen the argument for events to require “Covid-status certification” that will allow them to go ahead.

The government’s events research programme saw thousands of music lovers attending a series of pilot events in Liverpool over the May Bank Holiday weekend, which saw the likes of Fatboy Slim and Blossoms playing to a crowd without any Covid restrictions.

Other events that took part in the programme included the 2021 BRIT Awards in London and the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield. All attendees at those events were required to obtain a negative Covid test as a condition of entry.

A government source told the Times: “We are still waiting for the final bits of data but the results so far have been very encouraging.

“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.

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“It is true that they are not going to be 100 per cent safe but you can lower the risk to a reasonable level.”

Last week, Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn revealed that plans are in place to host a 10,000-capacity festival-style event next month to further test the safe return of live events in the UK this summer.

Speaking to NME before the government test events last month, Benn said they would give punters the chance to “behave as though COVID had never happened”.

“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 said.

“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.”

Reading & Leeds, Latitude and Wireless are all set to take place this summer, with Latitude the first to kick off from July 22-25.

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