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Inside the BRITs with Covid tests and spaced tables at first live event in year

The BRIT Awards 2021 marked the successful return to live music events in the UK for the first time in over a year as stars, celebs and NHS workers united to watch musicians accept a string of awards.

The event, held at London’s O2 arena on Tuesday night, also served as a celebration of the UK’s hugely successful Covid-19 vaccine rollout program which has seen two thirds of all UK adults given a jab so far.

The event gives hope and a look at how life will be returning to normal in the coming weeks as lockdown rules star lifting – with the expectation that masks and social distancing could be axed by mid-June following the successful vaccine roll out.

With the BRITs taking place just days before the next step in the UK’s roadmap back to normality, the show went ahead with distancing between tables, pre-recorded performances, and a reduced capacity of attendees.

Audience numbers were limited and star tables were distanced

Tuesday night’s ceremony saw audiences limited to 4,500 – a huge decrease from the O2’s peak capacity of 20,000.

A total of 2,500 tickets were given away to key workers based in London.

While live performances were a mix of pre-recorded and remote performances – with Coldplay opening the show with a high tech performance of their new single Higher Power on the River Thames complete with holograms.

The performance itself was recorded last month.

Inside the BRITs with Covid tests and spaced tables at first live event in year
The O2’s capacity was cut from 20,00 to 4,500

Other performers on the night included Sir Elton John, P!nk, and Rag’n’Bone Man.

The BRITs celebrated international music as well as the best of British talent – but performers from outside the UK were forced to either quarantine before attending in person, or make acceptance speeches and performances via video.

International Group winners Haim spent 10 days in quarantine in order to collect their gong on the night – and the band later celebrated with good friend Taylor Swift who also attended the show and won the Global Icon Award.

The live show formed part of the Government’s scientific Events Research Programme which saw attendees subjected to enhanced testing.

Inside the BRITs with Covid tests and spaced tables at first live event in year
NHS and frontline workers were offered free tickets to the live event

The results of the event will help the Government plan how to allow events without the need for social distancing in the coming months.

Everyone attending the BIRTs had to pass a lateral flow Covid test, while social distancing and mask wearing was enforced in queues and communal areas.

While tables hosting the stars in the centre of the arena were distanced further than usual – and far back from the stage, giving award winners an extra distance to travel to get to the winner’s podium.


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