Music Venue Trust (MVT) has welcomed new research commissioned by healthcare app myGP, which has revealed that 66 per cent of the public in England would welcome vaccination passports if it meant keeping their local high street in business.
After the coronavirus pandemic made the majority of live gigs impossible over the past 10 months – bar some socially distanced shows outside of lockdown – the industry is now looking for ways to reopen live music in a safe manner.
Earlier this month, it was announced that start-up company You Check will be trialling a new digital health passport app – collaborating with MVT in tests that they are looking to run with the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The UK Government recently announced that vaccine passports would not be required on the high street, leaving the future uncertain for tens of thousands of businesses, including music venues, as the country moves out of lockdown but social distancing measures remain.
According to the Office of National Statistics, 31 per cent of UK businesses who have paused trading or are temporarily closed have no or low confidence in surviving the next three months, with 55 per cent having less than six months worth of cash reserves and as many as 10 per cent of businesses currently not trading listing no cash reserves at all.
“Grassroots music venues across the country have enjoyed huge support from artists and audiences during this crisis and it is incredibly encouraging to see broad public support of vaccine verification as we consider a number of options to revive live music,” said Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust.
“The situation remains dire right across the events and entertainment sector. Economically viable events can’t happen with social distancing, and vaccine verification is one of a number of tools which venues can use to get back to full capacity so we can reopen every venue safely.”
myGP – the UK’s largest independent healthcare management app – has revealed it’s been inundated with enquiries from business owners after announcing its intention to provide people with a simple, clear means of communicating their verified vaccination status, via the myGP TICKet feature within their app.
Ninety two per cent of owners of independent public-facing businesses confirmed that they are considering inviting customers who can prove their vaccination status back as soon as possible at capacity events, in an attempt to avoid looming closures.
Hillary Cannon, Director of the myGP TICKet Innovation, explained why vaccination verification technology is key to the survival of small businesses in particular.
“We all know that lockdowns and social distancing has brought arts and events venues, restaurants, and the hospitality sector – all of our most beloved industry sectors – to their knees,” she said. “We also know that there are still questions around the reliability of rapid (lateral flow) testing, and that PCR testing does not account for the incubation period of this virus.”
She continued: “It’s clear that assured, GP-verified proof of vaccination is the only way to ensure that businesses can reopen safely and at capacity. And we now realise that the majority of the public supports the use of such technologies.”
In other vaccine news, major festival bosses have told NME that they hope to be able to go ahead this summer provided that vaccination targets are met and that speed testing improves, while medical experts said that they would hope for at least 60 per cent of the population to be vaccinated before large gatherings can take place.
Primavera Sound festival’s recent trial for the return of gigs with no social distancing but same-day antigen testing found no infection rate, while a study in Germany last year found a “low to very low risk” or coronavirus spreading at indoor gigs – concluding that “good ventilation and social distancing are key”. This month will see a similar experiment take place in Luxembourg.