Big events without masks and social distancing are as safe as restaurants or shopping centres, Covid trials suggest

HOLDING big events without masks and social distancing can be as safe as eating in a restaurant or visiting a shopping centre, Covid trials have suggested.

Early data from the return of football games, snooker and the Brit Awards has reportedly shown that such events can go ahead safely with screening and improved ventilation.

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Andy Hooper-The Daily Mail

Data collected from big events like the FA Cup final is currently being analysed by health chiefs[/caption]

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And the evidence – gathered following events where social distancing was not observed and masks weren’t worn – appears to pave the way for the return of crowds and nights out[/caption]

And it’s good news for clubs, which have been closed since the first lockdown.

The results will boost hopes that the end of restrictions can go ahead as planned on June 21 – despite the spread of the super-infectious Indian mutation.

It comes as:

The trials took place before the variant started quickly spreading through the UK.

And they’re likely to boost the case for so-called Covid passports for such events that will prove those attending have had the jab or provided a negative test.

A decision on easing lockdown is expected in the coming weeks.

A Government source told The Times: “We are still waiting for the final bits of data but the results so far have been very encouraging.

“It will help make the case that these large events are not inherently more risky than other parts of the hospitality sector.

“It shows that there are things that you can do to make these settings as safe as other daily activities.

“It is true that they are not going to be 100 per cent safe but you can lower the risk to a reasonable level.”

Another source told the publication events will need much higher levels of organisation than before the pandemic.

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As of Monday, Brits have been allowed back inside pubs to enjoy a pint[/caption]

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And there have been high hopes clubs could make a return on June 21 – with so-called Covid passports likely[/caption]

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However, despite the good news, Boris Johnson is reportedly mulling a delay to the June 21 unlocking amid concerns over a super-infectious mutation of Covid[/caption]

People who attend must be asked for a certificate, while there should also be reduced capacity and little mixing between groups, they said.

Events in the trial include the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, a club night in Liverpool, three matches at Wembley and the Brit Awards in London.

None required crowds to stay apart or wear masks.

However, people who attended were monitored on CCTV and wore devices that showed how many others they came into contact with, whether they shook hands or hugged, and how far apart they stood.

Health chiefs are studying data collected from tests five days after the events that will show how many people have since been diagnosed with Covid.

Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, is leading a review of the evidence for Covid-status certification that is due to report before June 21.

However, there are fears the final step of Boris Johnson’s roadmap to freedom is in doubt as the B.1.617.2 strain is now in 40 per cent of local authorities in England, and is dominant in 23 areas.

The PM could make a decision on whether unlocking should be delayed next week.

Hospital data from variant hotspots, including Bolton, will show whether the easing of restrictions is likely to be seriously disrupted.

A key question is how well vaccines have broken the link between cases and deaths as the most vulnerable ages groups are protected.


Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday the variant is now the dominant virus in hot spots such as Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen.

Both Sefton and Bedford have been labelled as areas of concern, and figures show the variant accounts for eight in ten cases of hospital admissions.

This is also the case in Bolton, Blackburn, Chelmsford and Croydon.

The Indian variant is likely to become the UK’s dominant strain, officials believe