Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced that some of the biggest events in the summer’s sporting calendar, including the final four UEFA EURO 2020 matches at Wembley and the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, will go ahead with greater capacities, as part of the latest phase of the Government’s Events Research Programme.
The next phase of the ERP will also include more sports and cultural pilots as the Government plans up to 20 events that will allow audience numbers to return close to full capacity. The pilots will continue to trial the use of COVID status certification at mass participation events ahead of the outcome of the Cabinet Office’s ongoing COVID status certification review.
The third phase of the programme will see the UEFA EURO 2020 Round of 16 match at Wembley Stadium on June 29 staged at 50 per cent capacity as well as the semi-finals and final in July. Under this arrangement around 40,000 fans will be present for these matches, the largest crowd in the UK in more than 15 months.
The Wimbledon Tennis Championships which begin on June 28, will also commence with 50 per cent ground capacity, rising to 100 per cent on Centre Court for the finals.
These pilots will involve a significant increase in trialling the use of the NHS App and Lateral Flow Testing, to be used as proof of COVID status. Trials of the NHS App will be run to assess whether it can also be used to display a user’s natural immunity status.
The next phase of the ERP will also include a number of trials of indoor events across the cultural sector. The pilots will continue to develop additional scientific research and evidence, as well as implementation considerations, for Government, event organisers, and consumers in reopening events safely with a greater number of attendees.
Dowden said: “We want to gather further evidence on how we can open up all big events safely, and for good. The expansion of trials of the NHS App and Lateral Flow Testing will mean that bigger crowds will be able to attend a limited number of major sporting and cultural events early this summer as part of our Events Research Programme. In the next few weeks this means more fans enjoying the Euros and Wimbledon, and some of our biggest cultural and sports events.”
The use of at-home Lateral Flow Tests will continue to feature as part of the latest phase of the Events Research Programme.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will continue to work closely with the Department for Health and Social Care, Public Health England, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and local leaders and directors of public health to consider whether events can safely go ahead. Throughout the ERP public safety has always been the primary concern and will continue to be so.
The local Director of Public Health for the relevant area will be supported and consulted at all stages of the planning process and they will make the final decision on how, or whether, events can proceed safely in light of local public health circumstances.
Full details of the third phase of the Events Research Programme’s events and capacities will be set out in due course.