The Music Venue Trust has backed Boris Johnson‘s suggestion that rapid coronavirus testing could be the key to reopening music venues, and says the necessary plans are in place for it to be rolled out nationwide.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Monday (February 15), the Prime Minister said “rapid” lateral flow tests could be used by “those parts of the economy” that were unable to reopen their doors last year.
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The lateral flow tests can provide results within half an hour, which could potentially allow music fans and clubbers to flock back to venues once they can provide a negative result.
Speaking after the new development, MVT CEO Mark Davyd said that the organisation is ready for a rapid testing system to be rolled out.
“Music Venue Trust has already created the possibility of two pilot sites to host events featuring rapid testing and a range of other mitigation measures intended to deliver live music in a safe setting,” he said, per MusicWeek.
“How rapid testing might work to deliver such events safely needs to be tested, and we look forward to working with the government to undertake that work as soon as possible.
“Rapid testing and other forms of health passporting, including vaccination certification, represent one of a range of opportunities to deliver events safely, which we have been discussing with the government since July 2020.
“A vital element of that work, for our sector, is ensuring that it recognises everyone’s right to privacy in balance with music venues’ need and duty to protect our staff and customers.
“Any plan for a health passport must contain rigorous safeguards against excluding people unable to be vaccinated or take part in rapid testing.”
The latest suggestion comes after it was confirmed that UK music venues are set to trial a new system of digital “health passports” in a bid to reopen live gigs safely.
Start-up company You Check will be trialling a new digital health passport app in collaboration with the Music Venue Trust, allowing music fans to prove that they do not have the virus to secure entry.
Elsewhere, Primavera Sound festival’s recent trial for the return of gigs with no social distancing but same-day antigen testing found no infection rate, while a study in Germany last year found a “low to very low risk” or coronavirus spreading at indoor gigs – concluding that “good ventilation and social distancing are key”.
The Music Venue Trust has said that gigs could potentially return in the spring, while London’s The 100 Club has trialled a new system to combat airborne pathogens.