Liverpool mass testing sparks fresh hope for Grand National and other major 2021 events

Hospitality leaders hope with the city having been the pilot for mass testing, it could also be involved with further projects including major events in the New Year

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The Grand National and other major events set to take place in Liverpool next year have been given fresh hope after the city took a crucial role at the centre of the UK’s first mass testing operation.

On November 6, city-wide testing began in Liverpool, becoming the first UK location for the operation aimed at bringing infection levels down.

The number of people who had come forward for tests stood at 90,000 on Thursday.

Hospitality leaders and local politicians are now hoping with the city having been the pilot for this initiative, it could also be involved with further projects once lockdown ends, which could mean testing trials for major events in the New Year.

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At the monthly Visitor Economy Panel hosted by the Liverpool BID Company, Claire McColgan of council body Culture Liverpool was asked whether she expects to see events like the Grand National at Aintree, the Rugby League World Cup, and Liverpool and Everton matches take place next year with spectators in attendance.

She said: “I know as much as everyone else. I think the interesting thing is around mass testing and how the next stage [will be about getting] people in and out of events – it’s hugely complicated, [for example,] where do you keep people while they wait for their positive or negative tests?

“So I think testing actually maybe one of the ways where we and the Government nationally start to look at this. That’s why it’s really exciting for Liverpool doing mass testing at this moment in time.

“If there are trials to be run, we’ll have our hands up first to say ‘trial things here’ – let’s try and get that part of the economy moving.” 

She added: “The football teams bring a huge amount into the city, Aintree is a truly global event, so whatever we can do to get those up and running in whatever format we can, of course we will do.

“That’s why the mayor [Joe Anderson] was so keen to get this mass testing pilot here, so the next stage we can look at in an active and creative way.”

Kate Nicholls of UK Hospitality, who was also a panelist at Thursday’s event, said it was important to remember that in between the two national lockdowns, trials to restart business and sporting events had taken place.

She said: “Don’t forget we are not starting from scratch. Over the summer, when we thought we were through Covid and we weren’t going to have a second wave, we did a massive amount of piloting and working with Public Health England to look at how we could safely reopen conference and event functions.

“So we’d be able to pick all of that up and overlay it with the mass testing to get it reopened.

“The thing that will hold us back is the lead time for the big events, but I’m confident we can start to get some smaller-scale events going early in the new year.”


Originally published by Business Live on 16th November 2020. SOURCE

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