LONDON (Reuters) - Some 4,000 people will attend the BRIT Awards next month, in what organisers of Britain's pop music honours said would be the first major indoor music event with a live audience as the country emerges from COVID-19 lockdown.
The ceremony, to be held on May 11 at London's O2 arena, will form part of the UK government’s Events Research Programme, looking at whether major events can take place in closed environments without social distancing.
This means audience members, of which 2,500 will be key workers who will be gifted tickets, will not have to wear face masks inside the arena but will have to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test result to enter the venue.
They will also have to take a test after the ceremony and provide contact details as part of the country's COVID test and trace system.
"This has been a long tough year for everyone and I'm delighted the night will honour the key worker heroes who have cared for us so well during that time and continue to do so," singer Dua Lipa, who is nominated for four awards, said in a statement.
"They are quite simply an inspiration. The BRIT Awards are always special and this will truly make it a night to remember."
Lipa is among several singers who will perform at the event, the first live music show at the O2 in more than a year.
Like elsewhere, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down music events with live audiences in Britain. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson's phased roadmap out of lockdown, entertainment venues can re-open their doors next month.
"Not only will we be celebrating the brilliant music and artists that have helped us through the pandemic, but we hope it will provide a path for the return of live music that fans and artists have so sorely missed," said Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry and the BRITs.
"We're buzzing about the show and working closely with government, the O2 and all our partners to ensure all safety measures and guidelines are adhered to."
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, editing by Estelle Shirbon)