As part of his safety advice, Simon Bryant, the Island’s public health director, has asked ticket holders to bring lateral flow tests with them and has stressed the importance of continuing to test when home. The message to music lovers is not to travel to the Island, or go to the festival if they have symptoms and to take regular tests on site.
Mr Bryant has also advised those going to consider wearing a face-covering in crowded or enclosed spaces and to keep using hand sanitiser.
The Island is continuing to face a summer surge and is dealing with the impact of more than 2,000 new COVID cases, which were recorded over the 6-week school holiday period. However, new cases don’t necessarily mean hospitalisations or deaths, with 1 in 3 people not even showing symptoms.
This week the NHS trust said it is dealing with a ‘third wave’ of the pandemic. To cope, a second intensive care unit has opened but the chief operating officer, Joe Smyth, has already said it is ‘very, very full’. The Isle of Wight NHS Trust have refused to comment on how many people in hospital are unvaccinated.
Mr Bryant has tried to reassure Islanders that the festival has public safety at the forefront of its thinking and that robust COVID safety measures are in place. He says festival-goers are being asked to prove their COVID-19 status, either by being fully vaccinated, or through a negative test, or immunity.
Mr Bryant said:
“After over a year without the festival, I know how much music lovers will be looking forward to this iconic event.
“The festival is a major feature of the Island’s cultural calendar but this year we appreciate there may be understandable concerns about safety since the government’s easing of restrictions around live events.
“The organisers have taken considerable advice and guidance from public health, the council and other key stakeholders to arrange an event that is safe for both the residents of the Island and also those attending the event.”
“It’s really important to remember we all need to continue to play our part in keeping each other safe and minimising the risks from Covid.
“We’re asking festival-goers to do as the community do and take personal responsibly for their health and those around them, by following the practices we have all come used to over the past 18 months.”
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