Crowds of people gather for UK rave experiment without masks or social distancing

ByZahid Mahmood and Zamira Rahim, CNNWire
Monday, May 3, 2021
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Crowds of revelers descended on the city of Liverpool in northwest England on Friday for a live music event held without masks or social distancing.

The British experiment was held without Covid-19 restrictions. It was part of the government's Events Research Program (ERP) and will provide scientific data to help officials plan how nightclubs and live events might return to the UK this summer.

Liverpool's director of public health Matt Ashton said the rave gave a "glimpse of what we think the future might hold."

Speaking to the BBC, Ashton said it was "wonderful" to see the looks on people's faces as they gathered in a specially converted warehouse on Friday.

But he stressed that the event was a scientific experiment and that attendees would now have to return to following coronavirus restrictions. Attendees who test positive for the virus will have to self-isolate as normal.

"We have to deal with Covid still as if it is still around because it is, even if it is at low levels, so we have to be cautious in our approach," Ashton said.

"And for me that's why it is so important that we collect the science around this to allow us to do this safely and properly in the future."

The health official said such pilot events were crucial in opening up the economy.

"This is going to be part I think of a longer journey of understanding how we live with Covid more safely in the future," Ashton said.

Social distancing restrictions and lockdowns have hit the British live music industry hard.

"This hasn't been an easy process, and it's particularly hard as the night time sector hasn't been open for over a year," Claire McColgan, Liverpool's Director of Culture said in a council statement released before the event.

On Sunday, British music fans will be able to revel another live event as part of the ERP, held at Liverpool's Sefton Park.

The sold-out music event will be held in a "huge" big top tent and once through the gates, attendees will not have to wear face coverings or maintain social distancing, according to a statement by the host Festival Republic.

"[This event is] about demonstrating our absolute commitment that we can and will open on June 21st. We want to get festival fans back at events safely this year. We all need a summer of live music," Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn said in a statement.

The BRIT Awards in London will also welcome a live audience on May 11.