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COVID-19: Pilot mass gatherings to be supported by government-backed compensation scheme

Written by on 15 April 2021

Large-scale event pilots that are testing the viability of mass gatherings will be supported by a government-backed compensation scheme.

Up to £300,000 will be made available to organisers should an event have to be cancelled.

It comes after a minister previously said that such a scheme could end up “pulling the rug” from big events.

Upcoming COVID-19 pilots include the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium and a screening at the Luna Outdoor Cinema in Liverpool.

The Circus Nightclub in Liverpool will also host an event for 3,000 people.

A government spokeswoman said: “This compensation policy is limited to the events research programme only.

“It is right to provide assurance to the organisers, given the risk they are taking in helping research to inform the reopening of the economy.

“We are aware of the wider concerns about securing indemnity for live events and are exploring what further support we may provide.”

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee chairman Julian Knight said on Wednesday that the announcement of the scheme is a “clear admission that there is severe market failure” in events insurance.

He told the online Let Live Thrive: Crisis Event, that organisers of all mass gatherings should be able to access a similar scheme.

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He added: “We need to ensure that we do not stop in putting the case for this because at some point I am hopeful the dam will break and that we will get it over the line but this has to basically be a constant effort because without it frankly we are not going to see the great festivals and live events not just this year but in years to come because we would have wasted away our infrastructure.”

The Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool has already pulled out of the events trial, after saying the government did not clarify whether it would involve so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports.

The venue said it was subjected to a “hate campaign” online after reports suggested it was working with DCMS to trial the certification.