UK Will Host Indoor Events Again From May 17th

12th May, 2021
Conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, gala dinners, award ceremonies and corporate hospitality will be able to take place from Monday, May 17, across the UK.
This announcement concerns the implementation of the third stage of the roadmap that the British government has defined to get out of the lockdown. The four-step roadmap will culminate in lifting all restrictions on June 21. Step three will allow internal and external events to begin, by meeting Covid's security requirements that include social distancing.

“Today we are announcing the single biggest step on our roadmap and it will allow us to do the things we’ve yearned to do,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a press briefing on Monday 10 May.

Event organisers will need to adhere to the following three requirements:

  • Follow all relevant Covid-secure guidance depending on the type of event, and complete a related risk assessment.
  • Organisers and attendees adhere to all legal requirements, including maintaining group sizes permitted by social contact restrictions at the relevant step in the roadmap and preventing mixing between groups, enforcing social distancing guidelines and mandating face coverings in indoor areas where required.
  • All reasonable action has been taken by the event organiser to mitigate risk to public health.

Organisers will be asked to mitigate the risk to public health by controlling attendance and taking into account the space and ventilation of a venue. They will also need to implement effective infection prevention and control measures.

All events taking place at step three will be subject to the following capacity caps:

  • 1,000 people or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower at indoor events.
  • 4,000 people or 50 per cent of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower at outdoor events.

The government has also made a special provision for large, outdoor seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed around the venue, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25 per cent of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.

However, capacity limits should be adhered to at all times. For example, a venue can admit more than 1,000 people in a single day, but no more than 1,000 people can be inside the venue at any one time.

If an event runs across multiple days, no more than 1,000 people can be admitted at any one time over that period. If a single venue hosts multiple different events at one time, and the attendees of each event are separated for the duration of the event. For example, at an exhibition centre hosting multiple business events, the 50 per cent capacity cap will apply to each event, rather than the venue.

To clarify, the cap on numbers only refers to attendees. Event organisers, venue staff, exhibitors, and speakers are exempt from the cap.

There are strict rules regarding catering and consuming food at events. All food and drink should be consumed at the table. All tables should be two metres apart or one metre with barriers between tales and attendees should wear face coverings when eating or drinking.

The devolved nations are working to their own timeframe for easing restrictions.

Event industry associations including the Association of Event Organisers, Events Industry Forum, and Meetings Industry Association have been working closely with the government to produce sector-specific guidance.

All this information can be accessed here.

Other Articles

About Us

Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.