What Covid safety measures are in place at Reading Festival?

  • Charlotte Briere-Edney reports from Reading Festival

Thousands of music fans have been arriving in Reading today, for one of the UK's biggest summer events. After being cancelled last year, because of the pandemic, Reading Festival has returned with a number of Covid-safe measures.

But there is concern that Covid infection rates could rise significantly following the 3 day event after, thousands of new cases were linked to other festivals with similar measures.

Festivals like Boardmasters in Cornwall, where around 4,700 cases of coronavirus were linked to the festival once it was over.

So, how Covid-safe is Reading Festival?

People's Covid status will be determined at allocated check-points on arrival, before they get their wristbands.

Festival-goers will have to prove that they've been double jabbed or can present an NHS text or email showing that they have tested negative for virus that same day.

People arriving to the festival must show proof of either being doubled jabbed or a negative test. Credit: ITV News Meridian

There has been speculation that some festival-goers who have paid hundreds attend the festival, might not do tests properly.

Results for the lateral tests are entered manually online, once the bar code on the side of the test is submitted. The person taking the test then enters either 'positive' or 'negative'.

The system relies on the honesty of the festival-goer, in the hope a false negative isn't submitted.

  • Meradin Peachey, Director of Public Health, Berkshire West

However, the local Director of Public Health, Meradin Peachey, isn't worried: "I am concerned there will be some spread of the virus due to the festival but we have to remember there's very few restrictions in society".

"So in actual fact it's just as likely the virus will be transmitted by people on transport, people in pubs who are not wearing face coverings because we don't have to anymore".

Almost 5,000 new Covid cases were linked to Boardmasters festival, which is about half the size of Reading Festival. Credit: ITV News Meridian

There may be concerns for locals in the area after Newquay, where Boardmasters took place, ended up with one of the highest rates of Covid in the UK.

Elsewhere, more than a thousand people who attended Latitude Festival in July later tested positive for Covid.

The Festival, at Henham Park near Southwold, was the first event of its kind after the relaxation of lockdown rules. It attracted 40,000 visitors from across the country.

But neither of these cases have put off revellers coming to Reading festival, although some admitted to having concerns.

  • Festival-goers share their feelings ahead of the weekend

Many of the people ITV News Meridian spoke to today had already received two doses of the Coronavirus vaccine.

But if they hadn't, this year the festival has a vaccination centre where they can deliver at least 240 doses a day.

They won't be giving them to anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol though, which may limit the number of doses given.

  • Festival-goer Ruby Barratt-Haynas explains why she got the jab on arrival

Ruby Barratt-Haynas was one of people who took advantage of the opportunity to get the jab at the festival.

She said: "I didn't really want to carry the beers back to the tent, so a dead arm is a good excuse for that one".

"I also missed my vaccine because I'm obviously here so it kind of made sense just to get it on my way past".

The on-site vaccination centre will be able to administer at least 240 doses per day. Credit: ITV News Meridian

With headliners like Stormzy and Post Malone, there's lots of excitement to come this weekend.

The hope is, however, that the people of Reading won't left dealing with a spike in local Covid infections once the tents are down.