In an article published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, we discuss the safe management of full-capacity live events in the era of Covid-19. The importance of the live events industry to the UK economy is significant, with the creative industries1 alone contributing £117bn to the UK economy in 2018. However, the public health response to COVID-19 led to an unprecedented fall in theatrical sales of 93%, with the entertainment industry estimated to lose £110 m per month of full closure.
Several high-profile live music events have been cancelled. There has been limited experience of the reopening of live events in other countries; however, this has only been possible due to effective public health interventions to reduce community transmission to near zero levels. The sustainability of stringent border control measures to virus transmission is much debated; however, it is clear that the ability for the UK to achieve and then sustain low community transmission levels will require rigorously monitored borders and quarantine measures for inbound travellers.
Widespread population immunity through vaccination (and from previous infection) will help the UK to reach low transmission levels; however, the success of the vaccine programme will largely depend on convergent evolution of the virus but this remains unknown. Additional measures to stringent social distancing, isolating at home and high uptake of the vaccination programme to achieve herd immunity to existing and emergent mutant strains of coronavirus will all be required to maintain low transmission levels in the UK. However, because of vaccine hesitancy among some groups, there may be areas of the UK where COVID-19 outbreaks continue.