Liverpool to play key role in bringing audiences back to events
The government has announced that Liverpool will be part of programme which paves the way for big crowds to attend events this summer.
The city will stage a series of test events across music, comedy, outdoor performance and business which will form part of a science-led Events Research Programme (ERP).
Along with Liverpool, the Government will work with a small number of other event organisers and local authorities to get fans safely into around a dozen events this Spring. These include the World Snooker Championships and the FA Cup final at Wembley.
The ERP will be used to provide key scientific data into how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Prime Minister’s Roadmap out of lockdown as part of Step 4, commencing no earlier than June 21.
This review will be crucial to how venues – from major sports stadiums to comedy clubs, theatres to live music spaces, wedding venues to conference centres – could operate this summer.
It will be key to allowing the British public to get back safely in numbers to doing some of the things they love.
Plans in Liverpool are currently being developed, with the ambition that they will take place throughout April. More details will be announced soon.
Settings will include small indoor venues that have a capacity of circa 200 people, where a gig or comedy night would take place, to large outdoor venues such as Wembley stadium.
Decisions on the number of spectators allowed into the pilot events are yet to be taken and will be subject to discussions with event organisers and local authorities.
Venues participating in the programme will test specific settings to collect evidence and best practice. At the World Snooker Championships, Sheffield’s world-famous Crucible will test a theatre setting, for example.
The evidence will then be shared across the event economy so that venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.
Liverpool’s Director of Culture Claire McColgan MBE, said:
‘Liverpool is an event city. They are a critical part of our economy, culture and community and so we are delighted to be working with partners across Government, our colleagues at University of Liverpool and a number of local venues and promoters to plan this series of pilot events.
Our experience as the pilot city for mass testing means we have the knowledge and infrastructure in place to deliver complicated projects safely, and we really hope we can help provide the evidence needed to ensure the wider sector is able to open across the country in the coming months.’
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“These test events will be crucial in helping us find out what works so we can get fuller audiences back safely into venues across the country this summer. We will be led by the science, but will work flat out to make that happen to help venues’ revival and the British people back to enjoying some of their passions.”
What is the Events Research Programme?
To build up the evidence base, a number of pilots will include spectators and fans not socially distanced under carefully controlled medical supervision.
The pilots will also test a range of non-pharmaceutical mitigating interventions during non-socially distanced events such as layout of the venue, face coverings and ventilation.
The study of each event will be overseen by a team of researchers who will be closely monitoring audience movements and interactions.
Attendees will be required to have a negative test ahead of the event and they will also be tested afterwards to ensure any transmission of the virus is properly monitored.
They will have to adhere to an agreed code of behaviour at the point of ticket purchase. This will include following existing Government guidance on the use of face coverings and adhering to event-specific rules.
Attendees will not be permitted if they have symptoms of Covid-19. They will also have to provide contact details of everyone in their group for NHS Test and Trace.
The events research programme will include looking at risk factors in indoor and outdoor settings; small and large venues; seated and standing events and different forms of audience participation.
Transport to and from events; duration of events and catering and alcohol will also be factors that are looked at.
The Events Research Programme will have two co-advisers reporting to the Culture Secretary and Prime Minister – Theatre director Sir Nicholas Hytner and businessman David Ross.
Ross was the chair of the government’s Sport, Tech and Innovation group, that provided guidance on sports reopening last year.
Their role will be to focus on the measures that need to be taken to ensure the safe return of fuller audiences to revive large sporting and cultural events to closed smaller settings such as gigs and club nights.
The ERP will produce a report to Ministers by the end of May to help inform government decisions on step four of the roadmap. It will also feed into the Government’s COVID certification review, announced in the roadmap.
Liverpool is one of the world-leaders when it comes to staging events. Now, with the added experience of operating a successful mass testing pilot, the city has the credentials to work with venues in the city to manage this next challenge.
What will the events be and which venues will be in Liverpool’s pilot?
The Culture Liverpool team is working behind the scenes on the complex logistics, but full details will be announced soon.