Ahead of hosting The BRIT Awards on 11 May, AEG has outlined details of Covid-19 mitigation measures that have been put in place at its 20,000-capacity The O2 arena.
The BRIT Awards will be the UK’s largest indoor pilot event as part of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), with a live audience of 4,500, including 2,500 frontline workers, attending the ceremony.
Measures include an enhanced ventilation system, testing processes, digital ticketing and new brand partnerships with Unilever’s Lifebuoy as hand sanitiser partner and Rentokil Initial as specialist hygiene services partner.
The partnership with Rentokil has seen the installation of VIRUSKILLERTM air purification technology at the arena. AEG said the technology is proven to kill 99.9999% of viruses, including Coronavirus. The units decontaminate the air by not only trapping but also killing airborne viruses, bacteria and fungi.
Testing is a major part of the pilot event, with all guests taking an NHS Lateral Flow Test in the 36 hours prior to the event, and a PCR test on the day and 5 days after the event that will both be sent for laboratory testing to assess any transmission from the event.
AEG said the three-year deal with Unilever’s Lifebuoy will see the branded hand sanitiser units prominently displayed across The O2 as a very visual reassurance measure following insight that indicated 75% of visitors wanted to see this when they returned to live events. Within the arena a new electrostatic fogging system will be used before, during, and after events to ensure that the venue is thoroughly cleaned with a charged anti-bacterial product that protects surfaces for up to 30 days.
The O2 arena’s owner and operator said it has enhanced the level of filtration for all fresh air coming into the arena in line with the latest recommendations. The temperature-controlled ventilation system brings fresh air in through vents in the ceiling, evacuating spent air through the roof of the venue ensuring fresh controlled air throughout. Carbon dioxide levels are constantly monitored and the ERP group have installed around 75 additional sensors to monitor CO2 level changes throughout the event.
The O2’s deputy general manager and operations director Danielle Kennedy-Clark has been leading the organisation of the pilot event working with The BRITs and the ERP as well as local authority and DCMS representatives to ensure plans are in place to safely welcome guests into the arena again.
She said, “Operationally we are used to safely welcoming around 20,000 guests into the arena, while the wider campus is open to visitors shopping, dining and enjoying the other activities on site. Our 4,000 guests for the event will be split between two groups outside The O2’s main entrance where we will check their negative Covid-19 Lateral Flow Test result before allowing them into the venue.
“Once inside for the pilot event there won’t be any social distancing measures in place, however customers are expected to wear a face covering at all times except when in their seat or suite. We’re well staffed and our guest relations teams are looking forward to getting back to carrying out their frontline roles welcoming guests and helping them to their seats. Our digital ticketing and Covid-19 security measures mean we are able to do this in a smooth and contactless manner”.
Official ticketing partner AXS will use AXS Mobile ID a digital ticketing solution through The O2 Venue App where customers are allocated a digital ID in the form of a dynamic barcode which then regenerates every 60 seconds, preventing fraud and illegal resale of tickets. The Venue App also enables the ordering of food, drink and merchandise from customer’s seats.
The O2 arena VP & GM Steve Sayer (pictured) said, “This event is such a big moment for us, and I’m enormously proud of the team at The O2 who have been working round the clock to ensure we have a best-in-class event as always, and that our customer experience is everything our fans have been waiting over 14 months to experience again.
“Our new measures and partnerships will ensure our guests feel confident at our venue as we make history as the largest indoor pilot event. This and all of the events that make up the Events Research Programme create a really important step for the industry’s recovery. Ultimately, we hope that it will contribute to all venues across the country being able to reopen with full capacity crowds from next month.
“We’ve spent the past 12 months adapting our operation across the wider campus at The O2 enabling us to reopen parts of the venue to the public for outlet shopping and dining, but the arena is the beating heart at the centre of this incredible destination, and we’ve missed our fans and the bands as much as they’ve missed us”.