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COVID-19 Free Passes to Enter Live Events.

Andy Robertson

There has been some discussion in the media over recent weeks regarding the development of rapid COVID-19 tests that allow results to be known within 15 minutes. Whilst still in development and currently being tested this could provide the opportunity for live events to start operating with confidence again.


The reality regarding the current status of rapid testing is far improved from six months ago. At the start of the pandemic it was taking on average three days to obtain the results from a nasal swab test, often combined with x-rays and scans. The move toward rapid testing has been driven by international travel to some extent with some destination airports conducting tests on all arrivals with results available within an hour or so. If the test is negative, they are allowed to enter the country. Some governments around the globe are also looking into the requirement for international travellers to present some kind of document or passport confirming the holder is COVD-19 free or has received a vaccine. However, an effective vaccine may still be some time away so in the meantime these rapid testing kits may become more widely available and people will start to accept this as part of the process to travel or to enter events with large crowds.

The proposed costs of these rapid testing kits are around $5, an additional cost that needs to be incorporated into event operating costs or passed onto the event goer via higher ticket prices. Assuming these test kits will be available in the early part of 2021 event organisers should start planning now with revised entry logistics. Additional space would be required for the testing process along with a sizable waiting area with suitable social distancing measures, ticket holders may have to book an arrival time to avoid overcrowding. Additional staff will be required to administer and process the tests along with a clearly defined procedure should someone test positive. The whole event entry process needs to be combined with strict enforcement of contact tracing apps in case an event goer who tested negative is subsequently found to be positive. 

There are some caveats to all these rapid testing kits and COVID-10 free passports in that the tests are still only 97% accurate and if negative can only indicate that the person tested is negative at that time. There have been cases of certain people contracting the virus twice which is an additional concern. However, a rapid 15-minute test should at least enable event goers to gain entry safe in the knowledge that all attendees have all tested negative. Combined with effective contact tracing these rapid tests should provide a robust solution to opening up and running successful events in 2021. Event organisers should perhaps keep appraised of developments of these rapid testing kits and start planning for the logistics of incorporating these testing stations at event entrances and effectively communicating the process to ticket holders.


Using an events software management platform like FestivalPro event organisers get all the functionality they need to manage new logistics challenges. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features for managing new venue entry procedures along with easy communications to event goers using direct messaging or notices posted on the event website and social media platforms.  

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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