Covid SMART testing was introduced for the first time among delegates attending a business event.
Liverpool City Council teamed up with Downtown in Business and ACC Liverpool to use rapid testing technology to increase covid safety measures at the Livercool Conference 2020.
The initiative was part of the city’s drive to use SMART (Systematic Meaningful Asymptomatic Repeated Testing) community testing as part of everyday life and open up the business economy.
Community testing has contributed towards driving down the city’s infection rate over the last month, meaning Liverpool and the wider city region has been placed in Tier 2, allowing many businesses to reopen and events and conferences with fewer than 1,000 visitors to take place again.
Guests who attended the conference at ACC Liverpool, part of the city’s waterfront event campus, were required to present evidence of a negative test result taken within a 24 hour window prior to the event to gain entry.
Matthew Ashton, Liverpool’s director of public health, said: “We have demonstrated over the last month that regular testing has a role to play in reducing transmission of covid, enabling us to open up the economy.
“The best way to maintain our success in bringing the infection rate down is by people getting tested before they go out to mix with other people, such as at business events, on a night out or Christmas shopping.
“The key now is to keep infection rates as low as we can, so we stay in Tier 2 and don’t end up in a position where we have to restrict what people can do again as that would be a huge blow for society and businesses.
“Downtown in Liverpool led the way by asking their guests to take a quick test before attending this event, so they had confidence that it was as safe as it possibly could be. We are hoping that other organisations will follow their lead.”
Delegates were asked to take a test at any of the city’s six community testing centres, which includes Exhibition Centre Liverpool, also part of the ACC Liverpool campus.
Frank McKenna, founder and chief executive of Downtown in Business, said: “The ‘Livercool’ event is an important date in the city’s business calendar and it would have been a real shame had we not been able to host it this year.
“With the introduction of Tier 2 status, the opportunity to hold the event was in play, but we wanted to ensure that we did everything possible to safeguard all the guests’ health. With huge support from the staff at ACC Liverpool and Matt and his team at Liverpool City Council, we were able to confidently say that ‘Livercool 2020’ was hosted in a covid-secure environment.
“To be able to bring business leaders together for a live event after what has been the most challenging of years was fantastic.”
Covid secure measures were in place for the event and across the venue, in line with the government approved All Secure Standard, including mandatory face coverings for attendees, 1m plus social distancing, one-way systems, hand sanitisers and high frequency cleaning including anti-viral electrostatic spraying of all areas before the event.
Bob Prattey, chief executive of The ACC Liverpool Group, operator of ACC Liverpool, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the M&S Bank Arena, added: “We remain committed to supporting Liverpool City Region to reignite business events and, as a key driver in the recovery of the visitor economy, we were proud to host the first conference in which SMART testing among guests took place.
“While we have all adapted to a new business landscape since March, nothing can replace face to face meetings and networking and this latest development – of which Liverpool is once again a forerunner - feels like a positive step towards the return of business events.”