Attendees will not need to present COVID-19 passports at the upcoming first batch of test events in England, including next month’s FA Cup final.

The Events Research Programme is running its first phase of 10-15 pilots in April and May to inform decisions on the safe removal of social distancing from Step 4 of the roadmap.

The pilots will be run across a range of settings, venue types, and activity types so that findings could support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has today published further details of how the events will be run, confirming that entry will be subject to a negative test result. It had been suggested COVID passports might be required for some events, but this is not the case.

“In practice this will work in much the same way that international travel has taken place in recent months – entry will be denied to those that cannot provide evidence of a negative test result,” said a DCMS statement.

“There will be no requirement for participants to show proof of vaccine. Participants in the ERP pilots published to date will have to provide a basic COVID certification that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

The first ERP event will take place with this weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, and also include the World Snooker Championships, the League Cup final and business, cinema and music events in Liverpool.

The Daily Mail reports that government is still working towards trialling passports, which ministers call COVID status certificates. But they will require a modified NHS app in order to allow easy entry for people who have had a vaccine or an antibody test, which is not yet ready.

The ERP will look at a range of mitigating factors including test-on-entry protocols for use in determining how we can reopen larger venues safely.

These protocols will be used in combination with the suspension of NPIs (face coverings, social distancing) to test what works best to achieve the aim of returning greater numbers of fans back to indoor and outdoor venues.

Image: Dave Gunn / CC BY-NC 2.0 / Edited for size