The government is to set up test projects to investigate how live venues can best reopen to live performance without social distancing and other measures.
The work is seen to be “crucial” to getting venues to reopen in June according to the recovery “roadmap”.
The government is working with local authorities and organisers of various kinds of live shows to get fans “safely around a dozen events this spring” as part of a research programme.
The project will provide scientific data on the safe reopening of live shows, in line with restoring theatre performances by June 21.
Major events lined up for the pilot include the World Snooker Championships at the Sheffield Crucible, and the Wembley FA Cup final. The World Snooker Championships will “test a theatre setting”, evidence from which will be shared so venues can prepare for larger audiences.
Liverpool will also be included in the testing, with events being lined up covering nightclub, comedy club and business events. Venues taking part will test specific ideas and pass on the best as “best practice” advice. Some tests will include events without special measures under “carefully controlled medical supervision”.
Attendees must have had a negative coronavirus test in advance of the live test, and will be tested again afterwards.
The evidence will then be shared across the event economy so that venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.
The programme will produce a report by the end of May to help ministers make decisions on step four of the post-Covid plan.