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Government reviewing plans to relaunch large events next month

09 September 2020 by

The government is reviewing but "won't be scrapping entirely" plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month and its intention to return audiences to conferences and stadia from 1 October.

The prime minister also revealed a new mass testing plan to be piloted in Salford next month across indoor and outdoor venues which will see entire workforces and audiences of theatres or sports venues tested the day before an event or on the day of work.

Those with a negative test, which he said could be turned around in "90 or even 20 minutes", will be permitted entry and will be able to lead "more normal lives" without the need for social distancing. The hope is to subsequently take the approach nationwide.

Posting on Twitter, culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: "we are reviewing the list of proposed sports pilots ahead of 1 Oct, in light of the increased number of cases. Details of changes will be announced shortly.

"We are keeping under review further easements proposed from 1 Oct but no changes have been announced today - and we continue to plan for the best."

The confirmation last night that groups of more than six would not be able to gather in England has already seen local authorities pull the remaining three days of Doncaster Racecourse's St Leger Festival pilot event.

Dr Rupert Suckling, director of public health for Doncaster, said in a statement: "I am concerned that the 10th and final test covering critical incident risks addressed throughout the event such as managing gatherings of people, public disorder risks across the borough, will be jeopardised by potentially more people meeting up ahead of any further government changes to the Coronavirus advice this weekend...

"Therefore on the grounds of public health and public safety I have instructed the racecourse to hold the St Leger Festival behind closed doors from tomorrow. The day's racing will continue today as it is safer to manage racegoers on site and with enhanced test and trace, it will be easier to identify where they are from rather than closing the event today and leaving people to their own devices in Doncaster and the borough generally."

The prime minister's announcement was part of today's press conference in which Boris Johnson confirmed gatherings of more than six people will be banned in England from Monday, that contact tracing will be a legal requirement of premises, and certain areas could see opening hours restricted.

Photo: Shutterstock

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