Crowds at Circus

BLOG: Pilot events – what happens next?

Around 11,000 people attended two nightclub gigs organised by Circus at Bramley Moore Dock and a music festival at Sefton Park at the weekend.

They were part of the Government’s Events Research Programme, looking at how to restart the events sector safely as Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Liverpool also hosted the launch of the Good Business Festival on Wednesday 28 April and is the venue for Luna on the Waterfront open air cinema from 14-16 May.

Ticket, test and ID
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND. The First Dance a club event at Bramley Moore Dock forms part of a national science experiment to open the events sector safely in June. 30 April 2021. Picture: Jennifer Bruce/Liverpool City Council.

We caught up with scientific researchers Professor Iain Buchan, Professor Marta Garcia-Finana and Dr Michael Humann from the University of Liverpool to find out what they hope to achieve.

Professor Iain Buchan said: “Liverpool has been pioneering public health research for over 170 years and was well-prepared for piloting the ERP at a range of venues.

“As a city, we delivered the world’s first asymptomatic testing pilot last year and the ERP will build on the strong communications, public involvement and established public health research locally.

“The events chosen cater to a wide range of demographics and, after more than a year of living with Covid, there has been a lot of interest in attending.

“This is strong evidence of people’s enthusiasm for a return to more social activity, and confidence in their ability to do so safely. It is this enthusiasm and vote of confidence across the region that we are looking to support.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND. The Good Business Festival at ACC Liverpool, as part of the Government pilot events, a science led Events and Research Programme (ERP) with lateral flow testing before and after the event to get audiences back safely as restrictions are gradually eased. 28 April 2021. Picture: Jennifer Bruce/Liverpool City Council.

Dr Michael Humann said: “Alongside monitoring testing and potential transmission at events, we’re also evaluating people’s expectations and the impact this has on public health measures and new event conditions in place.

“Capturing views before and after will also support with the feasibility of future events with these measures in place.

“The public’s adherence to Covid safety measures, compliance with lockdowns and uptake of testing and vaccination has allowed us to reach this point, and the events are an opportunity for members of the public to help inform and support the new guidelines for organisers, operators, and regulators.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND. The First Dance a club event at Bramley Moore Dock forms part of a national science experiment to open the events sector safely in June. 30 April 2021. Picture: Jennifer Bruce/Liverpool City Council.

Professor Marta Garcia-Finana said: “Everyone attending needed to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test, taken at one of the asymptomatic testing centres on the day leading up to the event. They have been advised to minimise unnecessary contacts either side of the event and told not to attend if they have subsequently developed any symptoms.

“By providing first-hand accounts of their experiences and by taking an additional nose swab test five days later will help researchers understand if anyone has caught the virus at the event.

“This process will also provide peace of mind, as a negative test shows they have not caught the virus and do not pose a risk to their family, friends or co-workers.”

Initial data and findings will be shared with the Government in late May, with a full report expected in the summer.

More information about the pilot events can be found at: https://liverpoolexpress.co.uk/national-events-pilot-your-questions-answered/