The government has published the findings from the first phase of the Events Research Programme after legal action from high-profile theatre and live music producers.
The Events Research Programme (ERP) observed nine pilots events that took place in April and May to assess the risk of Covid-19 transmission at events.
The events included indoor and outdoor venues with varying levels of mitigation against Covid-19, including limitations on food and drink, mandatory face coverings, and social distancing measures. The study’s findings come mostly from sporting events like the Emirates Semi-Cup Finals but also extended cultural events such as the BRIT Awards.
The scientific findings from these events have emphasised the importance of decreased cumulative exposure to CO2. The ERP also found that intervals such as bathroom breaks and getting refreshments pose a greater risk of Covid-19 transmission. Environmental studies have further confirmed familiar notions that outdoor events are generally safer than indoor events. Smaller audience sizes and social distancing measures have shown to decrease the transmission of Covid-19.
Behavioural factors were also taken into account including correct use of face coverings and higher return rates of PCR tests.
The purpose of the ERP, co-chaired by Sir Nicholas Hytner and David Ross, is to “examine the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from attendance at events and explore ways to enable people to attend a range of events safely.”
The ERP confirms Phases II and III of pilot events will be going ahead, “building on the recommendations of Phase I.”
Words by Elizabeth Sorrell
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