To ask Her Majesty's Government for what reasons COVID-19 regulations permit people to socialise outside pubs but prevent them from attending four-day county cricket matches.
29 April 2021
On 22 February, the Government published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’, providing a roadmap out of lockdown restrictions in England. The Government's priority is to ensure a safe and gradual easing of restrictions, restoring freedoms sustainably, equitably and as quickly as possible without putting unsustainable pressure on the NHS and avoiding a further lockdown.
From 12 April, Step 2 of the roadmap, people have been permitted to gather outdoors in groups of up to six, or in larger groups - providing they consist of no more than two households. Outdoor hospitality service is also permitted to reopen at Step 2. Attendees must adhere to the social contact limits whilst at the venue as well as in the surrounding area, this means that crowds are not permitted to form at these venues. Venues must take reasonable steps to ensure that customers are seated whilst eating and drinking at their venue, including in any areas adjacent to their venue that are typically used to eat or drink from. This helps to maintain a controlled environment where social distancing can be maintained.
As regards to sporting events, spectators are not permitted at sporting events or live performances until Step 3, where we will begin to admit crowds again under strict capacity cap rules. However, this does not prevent people from viewing recreational or organised sport that is taking place in a public space (e.g. parks) in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households.
We have chosen to take a gradual approach to relaxing restrictions to reduce the risk of an increase in infections that might delay progress through the roadmap. Our approach also reflects the additional risks which can be associated with large spectator events, for example, if large numbers of people use public transport to travel to and from the venue, if crowd behaviours lead to increased risk, or if the event leads to gatherings in shared facilities either at the venue or nearby.
The Events Research Programme (ERP) is running its first phase of 10-15 pilots in April and May to inform decisions around the safe removal of social distancing at large events in Step 4 of the Roadmap. The pilots will be run across a range of settings, venues, and activities to gather evidence on the transmission risks associated with different settings, and how these can be mitigated.