The Brit Awards will feature an audience of 4,000 as part of the Government’s live events pilot scheme, organisers have announced.
Audience members attending the indoor ceremony at London’s O2 Arena next month will not be socially distanced or required to wear face coverings once seated.
They will, however, need proof of a negative lateral flow test result to enter the venue and will be required to provide details to NHS Test and Trace and follow Government guidance while travelling.
Organisers are also gifting 2,500 tickets to key workers from the Greater London area to mark their work through “the difficult times” of the pandemic.
The announcement comes after the Grammy Awards hosted a successful 2021 edition in Los Angeles, which saw nominees and performers, including Harry Styles and Beyonce, attend in person but without a live audience.
The Brits are the latest addition to the Government’s Events Research Programme, which is looking at how venues can restart large events and welcome crowds back safely this summer.
The World Snooker Championships at the Sheffield Crucible and an outdoor gig at Sefton Park, hosted by Festival Republic, are also being used to gather data which will inform Government policy.
Dua Lipa, Griff, Arlo Parks and Headie One are among the artists scheduled to perform during the ceremony, which will be hosted by Jack Whitehall.
Three-time Brit winner Lipa said: “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.
“They are quite simply an inspiration. The Brit Awards are always special and this will truly make it a night to remember.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The Brits are always a big night in the music calendar, but this year’s awards will be particularly special.
“They will reunite live audiences with the best of British talent for the first time in a year, while providing a vital opportunity to see how we can get large crowds back safely as soon as possible.
“Music connected us when we were separated by this pandemic and now it’s going to help bring us back together again.”
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry and Brit Awards, said: “This year’s Brit Awards with Mastercard is one of the most significant in the show’s history.
“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.
“And as a thank-you to the key workers who have kept our country going through the difficult times, we are inviting them to be our audience for the first live performances at The O2 in over a year.
“We’re buzzing about the show and working closely with the Government, The O2 and all our partners to ensure all safety measures and guidelines are adhered to.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We continue to take steps to getting back to doing the things we love, whether that’s meeting friends and loved ones, or attending live sport and music.
“These planned pilots mean we can gather the necessary evidence to inform our plans for future events, ensuring mass events can take place safely.
“I am enormously grateful for the hard work of scientists and clinicians from across the country, which will mean we can start to enjoy these events again safely.”
Lipa, Parks, Celeste, rap duo Young T & Bugsey and DJ and producer Joel Corry are all nominated three times at this year’s awards.
Jessie Ware, dance music duo Bicep and rappers AJ Tracey, J Hus and Headie One all scored two nominations apiece.
The Brit Awards will take place on May 11 at the O2 Arena in London.