Covid passes required at large Sunderland venues from today - here's the rules

Covid passes are required at large city venues from today – but it’s still business as usual.

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 10:36 am

Under tightened restrictions to limit the spread of the new Omicron variant, new rules kick in today, Wednesday, December 15, meaning adults in England must now show a Covid pass to enter nightclubs, theatres, big sports matches and other large events.

For the Sunderland Empire, it’s business as usual as they have asked for proof of Covid status since reopening in September. However, mask wearing inside the venue, which was once optional, is now required unless exempt after the new rules were passed in the House of Commons last night.

Marie Nixon, theatre director, said: "Following the Government’s announcement, and as part of Sunderland Empire's commitment to keep everyone safe at our theatre, we will continue to ask all adult audience members to prove their Covid-19 status with either their Covid Pass (in the NHS app or printed) or proof of a negative PCR/lateral flow test.

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The Sunderland Empire has already been asking for proof of Covid status

"Customers and staff will also be required, unless exempt, to wear a face covering in our venue."

At the city’s newest venue, the Fire Station Auditorium, which opened last week, they are enhancing their covid security measures.

Tamsin Austin, director of The Fire Station, said: “The safety and wellbeing of our customers, artists and staff is our top priority and we are implementing enhanced Covid security measures for all events at The Fire Station Auditorium.

“Ticketholders aged 18 and over (unless medically exempt), will be required to demonstrate proof of Covid-19 status on arrival at the venue.

The Fire Station Auditorium opened last week

“Accepted proof includes: an NHS Covid passport showing vaccinations; a vaccine card with a photo ID; a negative PCR or lateral flow test taken within the previous 48 hours; proof of natural immunity or a medical exemption certificate.

“Any customers unable to produce any of these will be offered a lateral flow test to gain admission.

“We’re also implementing additional Covid measures to keep our guests safe, and to help them feel safe. These include: an enhanced cleaning regime; queue management and staggered entry; hand sanitiser and washing stations throughout the building and a state-of-the-art ventilation system which gives the safest possible ventilation in relation to virus transmission.

“We will expect audience members to wear a face covering when in the building, and we will also be encouraging social distancing.

“As you would expect, we will continue to be responsive to changing conditions and government guidance with respect to Covid-19, and will communicate any necessary changes to ticket holders.

“If you have any concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us on info[email protected] or telephone our Ticket Office on 0191 5700 007.

“We very much look forward to welcoming guests to our amazing new venue and they can rest assured we are doing everything we can to keep them safe.”

Elsewhere in the region, other large scale venues, such as Utilita Arena in Newcastle, have also already been operating a covid pass system.

They have stipulated that people will be denied entry if you are unable to provide any of the accepted forms of proof outlined on their website.

These are the new Covid rules

Over-18s must show that they are either double-jabbed or had a recent negative test, which they can do with an NHS Covid Pass or text message or email from NHS Test and Trace.

The rules apply when visiting:


::Any venue with more than 10,000 people

::Unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people

::Indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people

::Under the restrictions, any venue caught failing to check passes could be fined up to £10,000. The faking of a pass could also attract the same penalty.

::The new rules come into effect ahead of several Premier League fixtures.

Face coverings have also been made compulsory in most indoor public venues, as well as on public transport.

People have also been told to work from home if they can.

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