Usher Hall becomes walk through testing centre in the fight against Covid-19

Usher Hall

Last updated: 8 October, 11.00am

Edinburgh’s iconic Usher Hall opened its doors again last week (Friday 25 September) after being closed for six months due to the pandemic. The venue has reopened to house a walk through Coronavirus testing centre as part of a UK-wide drive to make coronavirus testing more accessible for local communities.

Adam McVey, Leader of City of Edinburgh Council, said: 

'Keeping Edinburgh’s residents safe is our main priority and the best way to do that is by encouraging people to follow the Scottish Government’s guidance and make sure that they have the opportunity to get tested if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. 

'The Usher Hall is easily accessed by foot and cycle, making it easier for those in our community who don’t have access to private transport to get tested if they are feeling unwell. We’ve given our full support to the Scottish Government both in this initiative, supplying one of Edinburgh’s best-known venues to be repurposed as a testing centre, and in our ongoing response to the pandemic. We will continue to play our part, working closely with them and other partners to manage the crisis as it develops.'  

Residents showing COVID-19 symptoms can pre-book a test at the centre by visiting or by calling 0800 028 2816. Anyone attending an appointment will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the Usher Hall safely, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.

Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout, including while travelling to and from the testing centre. Anyone who tests positive will be contacted by contact tracers to help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with and protect others from further transmission. Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from contact tracers, asking them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book at test if they develop symptoms.

This is not the first time the Usher Hall has been involved in current events. Over the years, the venue has been used for events other than its original purpose.  Prime Minister Asquith was here in 1914 and Sir Oswald Mosely addressed a rally of 2800 in 1934.  Winston Churchill also later appeared as well as Nye Bevan in 1952. Most notably, during World War II bomb shelters were constructed within the building. You can still see the entrance to these although no evidence has been found they were actually in use.