Details of pilot events emerge as sector reopening approaches

The Government has announced details of the pilot events to be held in Liverpool that will form part of a science-led research programme to reopen the business and cultural event sectors.

The Events Research Programme (ERP) will be used to provide key scientific data into how events for a range of audiences could be permitted to safely reopen as part of Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown, commencing no earlier than June 21. The review will be crucial to how venues could operate this summer.

The Liverpool pilots – which include a comedy gig, an outdoor cinema and a club night as well as a business event – will gather evidence associated with different settings and approaches to managing and mitigating transmission risk.

The pilots will explore how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols could ease opening and maximise participation, including the use of lateral flow tests – but not so-called ‘vaccine passports’.

An ACC Liverpool spokesperson said: “We are pleased to be hosting two events across our campus as part of the Government’s Event Research Programme. Attendees will not be required to have been vaccinated but will require a negative Covid test as part of the terms of entry.

“We hope that this and other pilot events will help bring back the events we all have been missing, as quickly and safely as possible.”

Liverpool’s director of culture, Claire McColgan MBE, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Government and the University of Liverpool on this vitally important research programme.

“Events are part of the DNA of Liverpool and a critical part of our culture and community. More than that, they represent more than half of our economy, so also play a major role in the success of the city.

“This is a show of confidence by the Government in the city and everyone who takes part, from the venues to the attendees, will be playing a role in influencing the reopening of these sectors across the rest of the country.”

The Government is working closely with the University of Liverpool and Culture Liverpool on the project, which follows on from the city’s successful pilot Covid-19 testing programme for people without symptoms held last November.

Liverpool events
– Hot Water Comedy Club at the M&S Bank Arena Auditorium
– The Luna Cinema on the Waterfront (three shows)
– The Good Business Festival Presents: Change Business for Good at ACC Liverpool
– Circus Club

The research
The programme is being overseen by the Government’s ERP Science Board with inputs from the University of Liverpool who are leading independent evaluation of the public health measures to secure the Liverpool events.

The aims are to:

– Develop and pilot the logistics of event ticketing and testing, venue admittance and post-event follow-up
– Assess the adequacy of data collected around events and venues for responding to potential outbreaks, and for adapting protection measures according to the background levels and patterns of spread of the virus.
– Measure the uptake of tickets and explore attitudes to, and acceptability of the overall ticketing, questioning and testing regime

Venues participating in the programme will test specific settings to collect evidence and best practice. The final decision over whether each event can take place will be made by local officials.

The evidence from the events will be shared across the event economy nationwide, so that venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our sports stars and great performers need us to find ways to get bums back on seats safely.

“This science-led pilot programme will be the springboard in getting the buzz back of live performance.

“We’ve supported the sports and arts with unprecedented sums, but it’s now time to make that Great British Summer of live events a reality.”

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