Government considers Covid 'certificates' for large-scale events after lockdown

19 March 2021, 12:56

A crowd at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset (file image)
A crowd at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset (file image). Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The Government is considering using Covid certificates as a way of getting people back to large events like football matches and festivals, it emerged today.

The document would show if people have had a Covid vaccine or a negative test.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said the measure was being looked at in time for the planned relaxation of all restrictions in England.

He said today: "We want to go beyond where we were last summer, so 17th of May gets us back to last summer, that has social distanced performances, we want to look at ways of getting more people in, thats why we’re piloting in different venues how we can do that safely.”

Mr Dowden said this could be used as part of the drive to return to normality, as he emphasised the importance of getting crowds back into stadiums and theatres this summer for the future of these industries.

Under the Government's current plans for easing restrictions, crowds of up to 10,000 in the largest venues could be allowed at performances and sporting events from May 17.

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It is hoped that all remaining restrictions on larger events and performances could be lifted from June 21, which is the earliest date for all legal limits on social contact to be removed.

The FA Cup Final and the World Snooker Championship are among the pilot events designed to test the large-scale return of spectators to venues, as the country seeks to reopen following the latest coronavirus lockdown.

The Culture Secretary said that final decisions had not yet been made and that he was working with Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, who is leading a review on this.

Asked if social distancing measures could still remain in place, he said the current guidelines made it "very, very difficult" for indoor events such as theatre productions to go ahead.

"I hope we will be able to find ways of mitigating against, certainly, having the sort of social distancing that we have at the moment," he said.

"Clearly, we have been in the situation for the past year where we have had to have those distances, so we are proceeding with caution, that's why it's the last stage, that's why we are piloting different ways of mitigating against that."