M&S Bank Arena Liverpool opened its doors for live events for the first time since before lockdown.
Hot Water Comedy Club was the first event to take place earlier this month followed by a full weekend of entertainment including the start of a 26-show run of Jack and the Beanstalk and three socially distanced concerts in the arena – Classic Rock Show Christmas Party and two nights of Rumours of Fleetwood Mac.
The venue is believed to be the only major UK arena hosting socially distanced events and is set to welcome around 16,000 customers throughout December culminating in Hot Water Comedy Club on New Year’s Eve.
Kerry Mulloy, director of events and operations at The ACC Liverpool Group, operator of the campus, said: “It has been fantastic to finally be able to open our doors this month and welcome our customers back.
“We appreciate there are still very tough restrictions in place across the country and our thoughts go to those living in these areas. As Liverpool has been placed in tier two, the government regulations allow us to host socially distanced events for up to 1,000 people.
“Over the weekend we welcomed 4,000 visitors and everything has run smoothly. We have put a range of covid-secure measures in place to ensure the safety of our guests and we are pleased that our customers have recognised the importance of working with us to ensure we are compliant. The atmosphere has been extremely positive and visitors are really pleased and grateful to be able to enjoy live entertainment for the first time since March.”
Covid secure measures across the campus have been introduced in line with the government approved ‘All Secure Standard’ and as part of a series of accreditations received by the venue including VisitEngland’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard for tourism and hospitality.
Measures include designated entrances; track and trace QR codes, socially distanced queuing, bathrooms and seating; one-way systems; hand sanitisers and anti-viral electrostatic spraying machines to enhance hygiene standards throughout the venue, including seating areas.
Customers are asked to wear face coverings on arrival and at all times throughout the venue, including when seated and watching the show. Face coverings can be removed to eat and drink while seated. Refreshments are available using contactless payment and food is provided in covid secure packaging.
Security remains of the utmost importance and, as checks will need to be carried out at a safe distance, the venue is operating a no bag policy. Customers are asked to not bring bags with them to reduce waiting and search times, however if a bag is absolutely necessary it must be see through and only one is permitted per person.
Mulloy added: “We are working closely with Public Health Liverpool, as well as the local promoters of each show, to ensure these events can take place safely.
“Our exhibition centre is operating as a lateral flow ‘Smart’ testing centre, the tests take five minutes and the results are sent by SMS within 30 minutes. We would encourage all customers to get tested before attending events.”
Looking ahead to 2021, the M&S Bank Arena continues with a series of socially distanced events in January and February including a new show by panto favourite Bippo’s Circus Spectacular, Judge Jules Live and The Drifters.