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NHS App self-isolation pings could kill UK festivals this summer

NHS contact tracing app risks putting festivals in danger of cancellation from staff and ticket holders being pinged by the app.

Music festivals in the UK face the serious threat of being shut down, as the BBC reported a record 618,903 people across the country being told to self-isolate by the NHS test and trance app, resulting in members of festival workforces having to self-isolate.

This will strain the festivals workforce, leaving them stretched to breaking point and on the brink of cancellation. Not only staff but attendees are also getting pings from the app, now being dubbed “pingdemic”.

The trend has led to further calls for government support; otherwise, the festival circuit and events industry could face mass cancellations and potentially fatal consequences for the businesses industry-wide.

However, from 16th August, anyone who has had both vaccinations will not be required to isolate if they are “pinged” by the NHS app.

Paul Reed, Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Festivals, said:

“We’ve already heard anecdotal accounts of marquee companies isolating at home because their entire team’s being pinged, so they can’t actually get to the site. I’ve heard of site managers getting pinged, and obviously, that’s work that you can’t switch to doing remotely.”

He went on to say:

“that will be too late for some members, but in any event, festivals are largely staffed by younger workers who will not be fully vaccinated by 16 August.”

Already more than 50% of UK festivals have been cancelled this year as a result of the pandemic, in large part due to the lack of government-backed insurance or financial support for music events.

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