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Disabled people excluded from mass participation event trials

22 April 2021

Government guidance is causing venues to directly discriminate against Disabled people by advising them to exclude ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ people from early-access large scale public events as part of its Events Research Programme.

Venues running the events have been told to refuse entry to ‘vulnerable’ people, including Disabled people.

The first high attendance ‘unlocked’ sporting events will be the final rounds of the World Snooker Championships at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre which will take place from next week with a 75% capacity audience. This is regarded by the Events Research Programme (ERP) terms as a ‘pilot event’. 

The data and analysis from this event will be fed back directly to the Prime Minister and will form part of the roadmap to re-opening other events in sports, theatres, music festivals, stadium events, nightclubs, large weddings and conferences.

Hallam FM in Sheffield has reported that: “Any adults deemed clinically extremely vulnerable or who are pregnant will also not be permitted to attend, so will be offered either the option to transfer their ticket to the 2022 tournament or claim a full refund.” 

DR UK’s Fazilet Hadi said: “This policy amounts to direct discrimination against Disabled people, who are now frequently referred to by the Government, as ‘vulnerable’. Direct discrimination is unlawful. We have written to the Prime Minister to highlight that this policy is in direct contravention of the Equality Act.”

A Government press officer told Disability News Service (DNS) that the government has not imposed a ban but was advising clinically extremely vulnerable people not to attend the events, in line with Public Health England and Department of Health and Social Care guidance. DNS reports that the guidance says the Science Board has “agreed that given the nature of the pilot programme it would not be possible for those high-risk categories to safely participate”. Organisers of some of the test events are insisting that this advice means that CEV people are banned from attending.