The O2 has announced that in order to help support the NHS with their preparation for the large number of additional staff needed in the effort to tackle COVID-19, the arena will be been made available as an NHS training facility, operating from 12 April–29 June 2020.
The staff trained at The O2 arena will go on to work at the nearby NHS Nightingale field hospital, located at ExCel London.
The rest of The O2 will remain closed to the public until further notice, including the shopping destination, ICON Outlet at The O2.
It is not expected that any facilities or stores within The O2 will open as long as it continues to operate as an NHS facility.
Steve Sayer, VP and GM of The O2, said: “We are honoured that The O2 arena, usually buzzing with thousands of music fans, has being transformed into a vital NHS training facility to help on-board the additional staff needed to save lives at this crucial time. We would like extend our gratitude to the NHS, emergency services and key workers who are working so hard to keep us safe.”
While the closure will require further rescheduling of events booked to take place during this period or new stores opening, the priority of the business is to help save lives.
The statement concludes: “We know our customers will understand our desire to support the NHS in this way. We encourage our customers to play their part during these difficult times by following government instructions.”
In January, ICON Outlet at The O2 reported healthy Christmas period trading figures, with like-for-like sales growing by 39% during the holiday period, benefiting from a 34% increase in destination footfall to The O2.