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Complete data from Events Research Programme reveals risk level 'in line with or below' national average

Events aren't all that risky as long as individuals remain cautious, the overall assessment seems to be

The cast of A Little Night Music at Leeeds Playhouse
© Sharron Wallace

The UK government has released the full data from the Events Research Programme, which has been running over the last four months.

The government's tone was optimistic, stating that "case numbers were largely in line with or below community infection rates." In effect, the research suggested that events were either as safe or safer than everyday life.

The UK government has therefore advised audiences adopt "a cautious approach" (similar in tone to its messaging in June and July when restrictions were first eased), to make sure that shows can remain in operation throughout the winter.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "I urge sport, music and culture fans to get the vaccine as this is the safest way we can get big events firing on all cylinders once more."

The government has also said that the programme "demonstrated how certification can be effectively implemented at large events via the NHS COVID Pass."

Events in the arts world have included performances at the Piccadilly Theatre in London, at the Grange Festival in Hampshire, Opera North at Leeds Playhouse, and open-air shows in Chester.

The programme data for the Grange Festival, Grosvenor Open Air Theatre and the Piccaddilly Theatre suggests fewer than five positive cases (any number below five is not detailed, so it could be zero) were reported by the NHS Track and Trace system at any given show – below the national average for the time period – backing up the government's statements that venues can be safe for spectators.

Audiences are encouraged to wear face masks whenever attending shows, and follow safety protocols to mitigate risks.

Doctor Jenifer Smith, deputy medical director, Public Health England added: "Please do not attend events if you have symptoms – you must isolate and get a test as soon as possible. If you are a contact of a confirmed case and have had both doses of the vaccine, although you don't need to isolate you should still get a PCR test and limit socialising to keep your loved ones and the wider community safe."

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