Live drive-in entertainment allowed from this week

Government calls for 'reimagining' of live events while tight restrictions on mass gatherings remain in place.

Live drive-in entertainment allowed from this week Getty Images
Live drive-in comedy at site in London.

Live drive-in concerts and comedy, theatre and bingo events will be allowed to start taking place in Scotland from Wednesday.

It marks the first step towards reopening the live event sector while tight restrictions remain in place on mass gatherings.

Public health advice says the risk of coronavirus transmission at drive-in events is sufficiently low to allow them to take place.

The Scottish Government has called on organisers to “reimagine” how they might safely hold gigs, shows and other live events while the country continues to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Drive-in cinemas were permitted to resume screenings last week but other live outdoor events likely won’t restart until August at the earliest.

Events contribute around £6bn to the Scottish economy every year.

For any drive-in events, organisers must follow public health guidance and mitigating measures from the July 22 relaunch date onwards.

These will include performers following social distancing and hygiene guidelines while the audience must be one extended household per car.

They should stay within the parked vehicle other than to go to the toilet or access food or merchandise areas at the venue.

Organisers should also keep a record of staff and customer contact details to help with contact tracing in the event someone linked to the event contracts coronavirus.

It comes as much of the country’s tourism, hospitality and retail sectors have been able to resume after months of lockdown.

Due to ongoing restrictions on mass gatherings, the live event industry has not been able to join them yet.

Nearly £100m has been pledged by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and a further £10m by the Scottish Government to support music venues, theatres, independent cinemas and other arts and cultural organisations.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The ideas coming forward from our events and festivals sector are both a sensible way to deliver live events and demonstrate that innovation thrives in adversity.

“The risk of Covid-19 spreading in environments such as live events where a number of people are gathered together means, sadly, the format as we know it may have to adapt for some time to come.

“Drive-in live events signal that innovative approaches can provide a first step towards recovery and can be the needed lifeline for our events sector during this time.

“I would encourage our local communities and events sector to work together to be creative and consider the possibilities of drive-in live events – from music concerts and local bingo nights, to family theatre and a reimagining of some of our most loved annual live events.”

Peter Duthie, chair of the event industry advisory group, said: “This is good news and a welcome first step in getting Scotland’s events sector moving again.

“The events industry has been hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and is likely to be one of the last industries to come out of lockdown.

“Events contribute in the region of £6bn to the Scottish economy and also make a vital contribution to the nation’s wellbeing.

“To ensure they continue to do so, the event industry advisory group is working closely with the Scottish Government to help build a speedy and sustainable long-term recovery plan for the sector as whole.”