Covid Scotland: Edinburgh's Hogmanay revellers must provide proof of negative Covid test after city's events get green light

Revellers attending Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations will have to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test to attend all of the city’s new year events after they were given the green light to go ahead.

Safety measures are being tightened by organisers Underbelly following talks with the Scottish Government and the city council.

All of the city’s main events are due to go ahead as planned, including a torchlight procession through the Old Town on December 30, a series of concerts in Greyfriars Kirk, the Loony Dook at South Queensferry, an open-air concert at the Ross Bandstand and the main party on Princes Street.

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However, Underbelly said they were going “over and above” the latest Scottish Government guidance to ensure the city’s events are as safe as possible.

Up to 30,000 revellers are expected to flock to Princes Street for Edinburgh's Hogmanay street party.

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Under the existing guidelines for the events industry, people attending large-scale unseated outdoor events must provide proof of vaccination or a proof of a recent negative lateral flow test.

However, an official announcement from Underbelly said all ticketholders would now be required to register a negative flow test on the day of each event before being given access.

Up to 30,000 revellers are expected at the main street party, with a further 3,500 tickets sold for a headline appearance by Basement Jaxx in West Princes Street Gardens.

The capacity of both events has been significantly reduced this year as part of efforts to bring back the city’s Hogmanay festival as safely as possible.

Ticketholders for the street party are being asked to do a lateral flow test before picking up their wristbands from the official Hogmanay box office on Bristo Square.

The capacity of the torchlight curtain raiser is being cut from 20,000 to 15,000 and ticketholders will be asked to collect torches from either Waverley Bridge, Parliament Square or Bristo Square before the parade – which will have an extended running time of five hours – heads down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Park.

Revellers will be asked to wear face coverings at concerts at Greyfriars Kirk featuring singer-songwriters Dougie MacLean and Eddi Reader, and trad stars Breabach.

The Scottish Government and the city council are putting £1.1 million into the staging of the festival, which has been valued at almost £40m for the economy in recent years.

Underbelly directors Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam said: “Underbelly continues to work daily with the Scottish Government and the city council and agencies to deliver a safe and a great Hogmanay.

“With safety at the heart of everything we do, we have decided pro-actively to introduce additional measures that are designed to protect our audiences, artists and employees to keep them safe.

"We and all agencies are working hard to deliver the event and to welcome audiences to Princes Street, placing Scotland at the forefront of the world’s new year events.”

Donald Wilson, culture convener at the city council, said: “Our absolute priority will always be the health and wellbeing of the public, staff and the city as a whole.

“We’re continually reviewing and updating our plans for Hogmanay in the face of the changing circumstances posed by the pandemic and these additional measures will help to ensure that our events are as safe as possible.”

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