UK Government study shows events are safe – so let them take place

The UK Government’s research on the Covid transmission risk of large events was finally released last week, and it showed that they are safe – so let them take place, cries a hamstrung festival and nightclub sector.

The results of the Event Research Programme report are now available, having been published last week, following a threat of legal action by the music and theatre industry if the UK Government failed to make the findings public.

Having shown that of the 58,000 people who attended the first nine test events only 28 subsequently tested positive for Covid-19, industry figures from the night-time economy are calling for a full reopening of nightclubs and festivals.

“Finally, the Event Research Programme Report that Government has been holding back for weeks has been released,” said Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).

“Out of the first nine test events, attended by 58,000, only 28 cases were recorded; and only 11 of the 28 were classed as potentially infectious,” he added.

Continuing, he said, “We are being marginalised by a Government that has no regard or value for our sector, we have businesses suffering, people’s livelihoods destroyed and youth culture excluded.”

Concluding, he commented, “It’s time to give us the certainty that we have been crying out for, and open the night time economy fully, no more excuses.”

While the events industry has welcomed the report’s publication, it is now calling for clear guidance as to how Government will enable events to be run after Step 4 of the prime minister’s conditional reopening roadmap on 19 July.

The key findings from the report can be seen below, while the Government report can be read in full here.

  • The report confirms that 28 cases of Covid-19 were recorded from all available data during the ERP’s first nine events. The report acknowledges that these numbers reflect the rigorous testing regime in place for attendance at each event and relatively low levels of community prevalence of Covid-19 at the time of running the first phase of pilots. It also acknowledges that uptake of post event PCR tests, used to measure transmission, was also low.
  • Of these 28 cases, the report has found 11 cases were identified as potentially infectious at an event, and a further 17 were identified as potentially infected at or around the time of an event.
  • Indoor events including Circus nightclub, which hosted nearly 7,000 people over two nights, saw 10 cases recorded. The World Snooker Championship saw six cases recorded from over 10,000 attendees over 17 days. The BRIT Awards, which saw 3,500 people attend the event at London’s O2 Arena, recorded no cases.
  • All three pilot events held at Wembley Stadium, which saw a total of almost 30,000 people attend the FA Cup Semi Final, Carabao Cup Final and FA Cup Final combined saw eight cases recorded. The ERP’s outdoor festival pilot at Sefton Park, in which over 6,000 people attended saw two cases, with the Reunion 5k run at Kempton Park also recording just two cases from nearly 2,000 attendees.

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