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Festivals, large events and coronavirus

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As hundreds of people return to Devon following days at the Boardmasters festival, we’ve been asked what the impact festivals and large events are having on local coronavirus case rates in Devon.

Festivals, and any such large gatherings where there are a lot of people crowded together, are environments that bring with them heightened risk of transmission.

And when audiences to those gatherings include younger people, who are not all vaccinated, then the risk of transmission again is greater.

The same is true though of any event or setting where there’s socialising. It’s not just festivals.

So perhaps it should not surprise us that the majority of positive cases in Devon now – holiday, events and festival time – are in the 15 to 19 year old age group, and that socialising is the main driver of that trend.

The largest proportion of positive cases continue to be in the younger age groups including those working in hospitality and other sectors.

Vaccination levels are increasing rapidly in the younger age groups, and that’s important to stop the spread of the virus and serious illness.

But with weeks of the summer ahead, if you’re yet to go to a festival or an event or gathering where there will be crowds, or you’ve just returned from one, here’s some guidance.

Before you leave

If you develop symptoms before your event, please don’t go without having first taken a PCR test and received a negative result. If it’s positive, please don’t go.

If you have no symptoms, take a lateral flow test to find out if you are likely to have it without knowing. If it’s negative, great. If it’s positive, self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test. If that’s positive, please don’t go.

While you’re there

Following the usual precautions and advice from the organiser – keeping a distance from others where possible; wearing a face covering when indoors in crowded public places; washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitiser – all help to reduce risk.

Routine testing for people without symptoms is sensible, even during a prolonged period, such as a holiday or a several day festival. There are many places to access tests on our website  and you can take them with you, or the event organiser may have testing arrangements.

If you develop symptoms while you’re away, the event organiser may have guidance they’d recommend you follow. The public health advice is to self-isolate and arrange a PCR test, and remain self-isolating until you get the result. If that’s positive, it is important to travel safely to a place where you can self isolate.

When you get home

If you develop symptoms on your return, please self-isolate and arrange a PCR test. If that’s positive, remain self-isolating for the full duration.

As we continue to live with coronavirus still present in our communities, we must behave responsibly and follow the respect, protect and enjoy message. Take the precautions we’re familiar with, and please do what we can to reduce risk to ourselves and others.