'Have fun but stay safe' - Plea ahead of huge weekend of events in Norfolk
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Thousands of people will be revelling in the excitement of football, concerts and festivals - in what promises to be the biggest weekend in the region for more than 18 months.
From Norwich City's first home game in front of a full Carrow Road to Tom Jones serenading thousands on the green, green grass of Earlham Park, the events calendar in the region has not been busier since the pandemic's start.
While restrictions have been lifted for the best part of a month, few weekends since have seen a wider pallet of events for people to enjoy - with tens of thousands of people set to make what could be their first furores into attending large-scale events in more than a year.
And while there may be some anxiety around the impact this may have on Covid cases in the coming weeks, public health bosses have stressed that there are plenty of things people attending can do to minimise the risk.
A spokesperson for Norfolk County Council said: “While the government restrictions have eased, the virus is still out there. Whenever people mix – such as at large scale events - there is a possibility of the virus spreading.
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"We can all take sensible precautions to reduce the risk of that happening, including by getting vaccinated, wearing face coverings in crowded indoor spaces and ensuring hands are washed thoroughly."
With 27,000 people set to attend Norwich City's Premier League opener with Liverpool, Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: "Everyone should be able to go to a sporting event, have fun and enjoy it safely.
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“However, Covid-19 has not gone away. You might want to arrive early or late to help avoid large crowds and wear a mask particularly in enclosed and crowded spaces.”
But while the weekend may provide the closest resemblance to pre-Covid life we have seen in months, safety measures and advice will remain in place.
Norwich City vs Liverpool at Carrow Road - expected attendance: 27,000
Norwich City's Premier League return is almost overshadowed by the other big return - that of the club's supporters.
Fans have been urged to arrive in good time and have been strongly recommended to wear face-covering on the concourse and indoor areas. The stadium has also been made cashless and fans dissuaded from close contact such as hugging and high-fives.
Tom Jones at Earlham park - expected attendance: 8,000
Organisers have urged concert-goers to take lateral flow tests before attending, which staff will be doing ahead of time.
Face masks are also encouraged in busy areas and a Covid compliance officer will be in attendance.
Magic of Thai Festival - expected attendance: 10,000 across two days
Set over two days at Eaton Park staff and traders at the Magic of Thai Festival have been required to take daily lateral flow tests in the run-up to the event.
Organisers are encouraging social distancing and mask-wearing at the event while also setting up sanitising stations at the park entrance and across the site.
Card payment is encouraged at stalls but traders will also be using cash drop off points to prevent hand-to-hand money handling.
Festival of Sport at Holham - expected attendance: 1,600
The Festival of Sport is bringing stars of the sporting world to the picturesque Holkham Estate, including Will Greenwood, Austin Healey and Dean Ashton.
The event has an extensive set of Covid regulations in place, including the requirement for attendees and staff members to show negative lateral flow tests and workers will be supplied with PPE.
Japanese Auto Extravaganza - expected attendance: 2,200
The car enthusiast show at Norfolk Showground will see 1,200 people camping across the course of the weekend, with another thousand expected through the gates on day tickets.
The event benefits from a 100pc outdoor setting, but several hand sanitising stations have been set up around the ground.
There are no requirements for Covid-status checks, but organisers are insisting anybody who has tested positive or are isolating do not attend