Dance party with no restrictions: Liverpool welcomes 3,000 revellers in trial event

Gathering comes as Covid infections in England fall to lowest rate since September

Britain is hosting its first carefree dance party in more than a year on Friday as Liverpool welcomes 3,000 revellers for a trial event with no coronavirus restrictions.

Another 3,000 will come on the second day of the mini-festival on Saturday, as part of a sold-out pilot event featuring performances by English DJ Fatboy Slim.

Guests will need to have taken a rapid test 24 hours earlier, but masks and social distancing will not be required inside the Bramley Moore Dock Warehouse in the north-west English city.

The latest step towards normality comes as new figures showed infections in England falling to their lowest levels since the end of last summer.

Only one in 1,000 people were carrying the coronavirus in the week ending on April 24, a survey published by the Office for National Statistics said.

It continues a remarkable decline from Britain's dire winter peak, when as many as one in 50 were thought to be infected in the week beginning January 3.

With the government hoping to scrap nearly all restrictions on June 21, a series of pilot events is taking place in an "events research programme" to test the safety of mass gatherings.

Small crowds returned to football matches at the League Cup final and an FA Cup semi-final this month, and the Liverpool dance event is the latest in the series.

People arrive for the latest in a series of pilot events with crowds. AP 
People arrive for the latest in a series of pilot events with crowds. AP 

Nightlife promoter Circus is hosting the weekend event, from which data will be collected to test the safety of large-scale gatherings.

The temporary arrangements at the venue include a tent where scientists can monitor behaviour.

Liverpool's director of public health Matt Ashton sounded a note of caution ahead of the pilot, saying Covid-19 was "still there" and "new variants and international travel are still a real cause for concern".

He said "staying in lockdown is not an option" and events were an "an important part of the wellbeing, social fabric and economies of communities, particularly in Liverpool".

Britain is one of Europe's worst-hit countries in the pandemic, with nearly 128,000 deaths from the virus.

But it is forging ahead with a roadmap to unlock the economy thanks to months of strict lockdown measures and a successful vaccination programme.

Nearly two thirds of the adult population have received a first dose, and data shows that the vaccines are working.

"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," director of Culture Liverpool, Claire McColgan said.

"But anyone who attends will not only be helping to get clubs up and running in Liverpool, they will be pioneers for the whole country."

Updated: April 30, 2021 11:12 PM

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