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No face masks or social distancing at FA Cup Semi Final as part of lockdown easing trial


Government trials under the Events Research Programme (ERP) aim to examine Covid transmission through attendance at events and explore the ways in which the Government can enable people to attend large-scale events safely. ERP pilot schemes during the FA Cup Semi Final at Wembley Stadium, World Snooker Championship at Sheffield Crucible Theatre and the League Cup Final will require test subjects to provide a negative Covid test prior to entry, but whilst inside, attendees are not required to socially distance themselves and can sit without needing a facemask.

ERP guidance on the scheme said: “The ERP will look at a range of mitigating factors including test-on-entry protocols for use in determining how we can reopen larger venues safely.

“These protocols will be used in combination with the suspension of NPIs (face coverings, social distancing) to test what works best to achieve the aim of returning greater numbers of fans back to indoor and outdoor venues.

“Entry will be subject to a negative test result.”

They added: “The programme will explore how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs – actions that people can take to mitigate the spread of coronavirus) can inform decisions on safely lifting restrictions at events.”

A total of 15 pilot schemes will take place before the end of May, with results of the scheme being fed back to advise the Government on future plans surrounding Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown.

The scheme has not been approved for those considered clinically vulnerable, including those who are pregnant and under 18 years of age.

Participants in the ERP studies will not have to show proof of vaccination but will have to show a basic Covid certification proving that they have tested negative for the virus.

Participants will be subjected to prior and post-event monitoring.

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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said last month: “The next stage is going beyond that on June 21 to get even more people in.”


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