Liverpool to pilot return of nightclubs without social distancing in covid roadmap test

Nightclubs have been closed throughout the duration of the pandemic. Credit: PA

Liverpool will test the return of crowds to nightclubs, comedy centres and business events as part of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.

The "Events Research Programme" will test how small and large-scale events can be done safely to allow venues to re-open as lockdown restrictions ease by collecting scientific data from the events this spring.

The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said that the events will be "crucial" in getting audiences back in "safely without social distancing".

Under the government's current plan all lockdown restrictions will be removed no earlier than June 21, with outdoor hospitality due to open on April 12.

The government has said that decisions on audience sizes have not yet been decided and will be worked out with local authorities.

Claire McColgan MBE, Director of Culture and Tourism in Liverpool said: "Liverpool is an event city.

"They are a critical part of our economy, culture and community and so we are delighted to be working with partners across Government, our colleagues at the University of Liverpool and a number of local venues and promoters to plan this series of pilot events.

"Our experience as the pilot city for mass testing means we have the knowledge and infrastructure in place to deliver complicated projects safely, and we really hope we can help provide the evidence needed to ensure the wider sector is able to open across the country in the coming months."

Liverpool piloted the government's first mass testing scheme in November.

Mr Dowden added: "We will be guided by the science and medical experts, but will work flat out to make that happen. We want to get the people back to enjoying what they love and ensure some of our most important growth industries get back on their feet.

"These are important steps towards the safe and special summer we all crave and that I’m fully focused on delivering."

Liverpool trialled mass testing in November. Credit: ITV News

As well as events in Liverpool the Fa Cup Final and World Snooker Championship will also trial events with crowds.

Each event will be monitored by a team of researchers with no one being allowed to enter if they have symptoms of Covid-19, or without providing contact details to NHS Test and Trace.

The Department of Culture has said that data will be provided by the end of May, which will advise the government on how quickly restrictions can be lifted.