People attending ticketed events as part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations will have to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test to attend, organisers have announced.
Participants will have to show a negative result from the day of the event to gain access to Party at the Bells, the Torchlight Procession, all concerts that are part of the Scottish music programme in Greyfriars Kirk, and the Loony Dook.
Organisers Underbelly said they have introduced the additional safety measures proactively, going over and above the latest Scottish Government guidance, as part of a continued commitment to providing a “safe and great Hogmanay for the city of Edinburgh”.
Underbelly co-directors Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam said: “Underbelly continues to work daily with the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council and agencies to deliver a safe and a great Hogmanay.
“With safety at the heart of everything we do, we have decided proactively 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.”
For the Torchlight Procession on Thursday December 30, all ticket-holders must be able to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test on the day of the event when collecting their torches from one of the three pick-up locations.
They must register their test result through the government website and take the text or email with proof of the negative result to the event in order to gain entry.
For Party at the Bells, the box office opens from Tuesday December 27 and people collecting their tickets will be required to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours, or their vaccine passport.
All attendees will also need to be able to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test from the day of the event, December 31, at an entry point to gain access to the celebrations.
We’re continually reviewing and updating our plans for Hogmanay in the face of the changing circumstances posed by the pandemic
Donald Wilson, Edinburgh City Council
For the Loony Dook on Saturday January 1, participants must be able to provide proof of a negative lateral flow result, taken on the morning of the event, when they reach the South Queensferry registration point.
The same applies for people going to Scottish Music Programme events at Greyfriars Kirk between Wednesday December 29 and Friday December 31, with all ticket-holders asked to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test from the day of the event.
Ticket-holders must register their test result through the NHS Scotland inform page and take the text or email with proof of the negative result in order to attend.
Edinburgh City Council’s Culture and Communities Convener, Donald Wilson, 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.”
Elsewhere, the Stonehaven Fireballs ceremony, which sees people parading along the town’s High Street whirling balls of flame above their heads, has been cancelled for the second year running due to the pandemic.
In a post on Facebook, organisers said they feel it “just would not be right” to run the event following reports of increases in coronavirus cases, and that they feel they have a duty of care to the town’s residents to “not expose them to any more risk than necessary”.