Rapid COVID-19 tests could help re-open more UK venues—here’s why
2021 isn't starting off as many music fans hoped. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, major festivals have already been canceled and various tours are being postponed yet again. Now, the Music Venue Trust is supporting the idea that rapid coronavirus testing may be the key to re-opening more music venues in the U.K.
The MVT has officially backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suggestion that these fast-acting tests could play an integral role in bringing back live music.
So far, 2021 has already seen a slew of postponements and cancelations in the music world. Glastonbury, one of the world's largest festivals, has already canceled its event this year. As well, Coachella, Epicenter and Sonic Temple are also not taking place in 2021. Meanwhile, Halsey has completely canceled her Manic North American tour while Dance Gavin Dance have pushed the Afterburner tour to later this year.
Despite these cancelations and postponements, the industry may find some hope of bringing back live music with rapid COVID-19 tests. On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “rapid” lateral flow tests could be used by “those parts of the economy” that couldn't reopen their doors in the U.K. last year.
These lateral flow tests are able to provide results within half an hour. So, these tests could potentially allow music fans and event-goers to get a faster results and return to venues safely.
Now, the Music Venue Trust has officially backed Johnson. MVT CEO Mark Davyd said that the organization is all for the rapid testing system and is waiting for it to be rolled out.
“Music Venue Trust has already created the possibility of two pilot sites to host events featuring rapid testing," he told MusicWeek. "And a range of other mitigation measures intended to deliver live music in a safe setting. 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."
Davyd goes on to say that these forms of testing and tracking could become essential to re-opening venues. Why? Well, they provide fast results and a quicker way of tracking COVID-19 diagnoses in potential event attendees.
“Rapid testing and other forms of health passporting, including vaccination certification, represent one of a range of opportunities to deliver events safely," Davyd continues. "Which we have been discussing with the government since July 2020."
Davyd also notes that protecting everyone's privacy with this rapid testing system is incredibly important. Last year, Ticketmaster unveiled its plans to roll out a COVID-19 test result and vaccine tracking system. However, the plans soon earned backlash for its possible lack of privacy. Soon after, Ticketmaster clarified that all of its proposed plans are optional and venues can decide whether or not to implement them in the future.
Back in January, Dr. Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed concerts could return in the U.S. as early as this fall. However, it's all dependent on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the country reaching herd immunity. As well, mask-wearing, social distancing and other safety measures will likely have to be implemented at all future events.
Although many venues still remain closed, New York is planning to resume live events at large venues and stadiums this year. On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that large New York venues will soon be allowed to resume hosting events. In fact, he said fans could return to public venues as early as Feb. 23.
Even though various 2021 events are already canceled, some festivals are still scheduled to happen. Back in October, we learned that Aftershock Festival is happening Oct. 7 – 10, 2021. My Chemical Romance and Metallica are returning as this year’s headliners. As well, Machine Gun Kelly, Rise Against, Parkway Drive and Rancid are also performing at the festival. Meanwhile, Welcome To Rockville, Louder Than Life, Aftershock and Inkcarceration are also still scheduled for later this year.
Do you think rapid COVID-19 testing could help re-open venues sooner? Let us know in the comments below.