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Live music, in front of an audience, will return to The O2 arena (cap. 20,000) for the first time in 14 months on 22 May, with Squeeze scheduled to play a gig in front of 4,700 people.

The first socially distanced live music event at the AEG-owned arena, will see the South East London band play a rescheduled show that was originally planned for 5 December. The event was postponed due to Covid-19 event restrictions.

The concert will see the venue’s capacity reduced from 20,000 to 4700. It will be the first live music event with fans since the venue closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Organisers said widespread safety measures will be in place to welcome fans back to the arena safely.

AXS will oversee ticketing using AXS Mobile ID via The O2 venue app to enable the pre-ordering of food and drink as well as merchandise to reduce queuing with fast collection lanes.

Visitors will only be allowed to bring a single clear bag into the arena and the wearing of face coverings will be mandatory, except when eating and drinking within the seats. A spokesperson said the show is expected to end by 10pm to allow fans to leave the site safely at a distance.

As previously reported, AEG has purchased electrostatic foggers to deliver a charged anti-bacterial spray across the venue that will envelope all surfaces, providing protection for up to 30 days, with a heightened cleaning regime before, during and after the event.

In an interview with Access, The O2 arena general manager Steve Sayer discussed the measures in detail.

Squeeze frontman Glenn Tilbrook said, “I am so thrilled to be playing The O2 with Squeeze and to be able to chalk up another first for us on this hallowed ground, previously the site of a gasworks, whose social club featured a double bill of Chris Difford and myself with Bucks Fizz’s Cheryl Baker. That was a long time ago. We are putting a lot of time and energy into this show to make it one not to forget. See you there! Love, Glenn.”

On 19 December Pete Tong, The Heritage Orchestra and Jules Buckley performed live at The O2 arena as a streamed event with no audience, marking the first time a live music performance had been staged at the AEG-owned venue since March. In November, the venue hosted the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals behind closed doors.

In line with the government measures, The O2 is temporarily closed.