What is the Events Research Programme?
CAROLINE MATTHEWS >
ConsultantFri 9 July 2021
Over the past few months, we have seen people gradually picking up their social lives again by returning to sporting events, pubs and restaurants. With Wimbledon and the Euro’s 2020 in full swing, it does raise the question of what impact these large gatherings will have on our lives and social habits following the end of lockdown.
It is essential to the continued easing of covid restrictions that operators in the events and hospitality industry are given guidance on minimising the potential spread of infection, to allow a return to a semblance of normality for this hard-hit business sector.
The Events Research Programme (ERP) is a world leading programme with a remit to carry out a series of pilot large scale events and to examine ways to come up with a consistent approach to the safe lifting of all Covid-19 restrictions, thereby supporting the safe reopening of large scale entertainment and hospitality venues and events. The Programme is run by an industry-led steering group working in close collaboration with public health bodies and other stakeholders.
Pilot events are examining the effect of different scenarios including: spectator capacities, indoor versus outdoor seating, seating configuration, availability of refreshments and alcohol, and on the transmission of the virus. Phase 1 is complete with Phase 2 and 3 building on the observations made to date.
Scientific evidence from the pilots is allowing the ERP to assess how the use of various measures such as social distancing, ventilation and testing can best mitigate the risk of transmission.
Phase 1 included:
- World Snooker Championships (up to 1000 spectators, seated indoors),
- FA Cup semi-final (4000 spectators, seated outdoors),
- Cup final (21,000 spectators, seated outdoors) and
- The BRIT Awards (4000 audience, seated indoors).
Participants have to agree to specific covid-related rules for each event, with admittance conditional on a negative lateral flow test (LFT) result beforehand.
The Phase 1 Report was published last week. The ERP noted that the first pilot events took place in the spring when there were limited opportunities to socialise before or after an event, with access to pubs, restaurants and other venues severely restricted. With lockdown easing, new factors have come into play including the vaccination programme, the rise of the Delta variant and further reopening of licensed venues.
More research into crowd behaviour when in a close environment, for example entry and exit points, behaviour in crowded bars and restaurants, transmission methods and willingness to wear face coverings will be undertaken over the coming months. The efficacy of more home LFT and better communication of the safety rules at venues will be examined.
Whilst the public is making its own decisions whether it is deemed “safe” to go to an event, operators are encouraged to follow the updated Organised Events Guidance.
The work of the ERP is instrumental in gathering and assessing scientific data that continues to be used to inform government strategy and operational guidance for the hospitality and events industry through the ending of lockdown and beyond.
Contact Caroline Matthews at our Peterborough Office on 01733 865112 or click the 'contact us' button to email her directly. Looking for more information on Alcohol and Entertainment Licenses, click here.
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