Business events, conferences and events centres to reopen on 1st October
Business events, conferences and events centres will be given the go ahead to reopen on 1st October adhering to social distancing.
Provided levels of infection remain at current rates, this will see the return of the sector worth approximately £32.6 billion to the UK each year. The sector represented a quarter of the 38 million international visits to the UK in 2018 and provides a welcome boost to visitor numbers during the off peak tourist season.
Following the announcement, a number of pilot events will take place at event venues across the country to plan for a return to large-scale events and test how best to implement social distancing practises. Details of these pilots will be finalised in partnership with the sector in the coming weeks.
Answering a question from the FT about people returning to work, prime minister Johnson made a telling statement underlining the value of face-to-face interaction. He said: “There’s a balance. We have learnt a lot of lessons during this crisis, about the potential of technology, but I think there are also limits to this technology and is no substitute for face-to-face meetings and interactions.”
New guidance, published by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport and the Association of Event Organisers, will help event organisers, venue operators and participants in the UK understand how they can work and host business events and conferences and keep both their guests and staff safe.
Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston added: “Business events and conferences are a key part of our visitor economy and this is an important step in getting them back up and running safely. Pilots will help inform our plans for the return of the sector in October with guests and staff adhering to social distancing and measures introduced to reduce close contact.”
The guidance makes clear that the following measures should be considered to allow for safe resumption of business events and conferences:
- Attendees will need to pre-book and pre-register to attend events
- Contactless registration systems will be introduced at venues to reduce waiting times and limit contact between organisers and guests
- A digital first approach will be adopted to eliminate the need for physical badges and lanyards
- Paper handouts and gifts will no longer be offered
- Entrance to event or conference spaces will be staggered to reduce queuing and overall capacity will be limited to ensure social distancing can be maintained
- Events will be planned around one way systems for visitors
- Spaces between exhibition booths will be increased and aisles widened to achieve social distancing requirements
- All venues will also have enhanced cleaning procedures, with hand washing and sanitising facilities at frequent intervals
Read the full guidance here. We are ever reviewing the guidance and look forward to live events reopening as and when it is safe. If you are planning on hosting a live or virtual event, get in touch with the Smart Live team and let us find the best solution for you.