In new guidance issued on 6th April 2021, the government has clarified how the UK will emerge from lockdown. Here’s what it means for events:

  • All being well, all events will be allowed by 21st June
  • Outdoor events will be allowed from 12th April, with restrictions
  • Large indoor are able to resume from the the 17th May (with limits on capacity)
  • In-person meetings for work, training or education purposes can take place now, but only if entirely necessary, and if the venue can demonstrate it has followed COVID-19 guidance
  • From 29 March, site viewings at business event venues, for a future work based event, are permitted if these cannot be carried out remotely

Below is a timeline showing the key dates affecting events in England (there will be separate plans set out for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). We'll keep this post updated with further details as they emerge. Keep track @hirespace and follow the Safer Events - A Framework for Action white paper for practical guidance.

Table of Contents

1. The Four Stages
2. The Four Tests
3. Events Research Program
4. Social Distancing
5. So What Now?

The Four Stages

Step 1: 8 March, 29 March

Events updates (effective from 8 March):

  • Funerals of up to 30 people
  • Wakes and weddings up to 6 people
UK Government Step 1 Covid Response

Source: UK Government Covid-19 Response − Spring 2021

Step 2: 12 April (earliest)

Events updates:

  • Outdoor events of up to 4,000 people (or 4,000+ with local authority permission), with staggered entry, Rule of 6 and no congregating in one place (for instance, to watch a theatre or concert) - NEW 6th April
  • Funerals of up to 30 people
  • Wakes and weddings up to 15 people (in venues that are permitted to open)
  • Drive through performance events allowed
  • Event pilots begin
UK Government Step 2 Covid Response

Source: UK Government Covid-19 Response − Spring 2021

Step 3: 17th May (earliest)

Events updates:

  • Most significant life events allowed (30 pax)
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment (including performances)
  • Some larger events allowed, including business meetings and conferences:

1. Indoor events, 1,000 pax or 50% of capacity

2. Outdoor events, 4,000 pax or 50% capacity

3. Seated outdoor events 10,000 or 25% capacity

  • Rule of 6 indoors, groups of 30 outdoors
  • Catering and hospitality permitted in groups and with table service
UK Government Step 3 Covid Response

Source: UK Government Covid-19 Response − Spring 2021

Step 4: 21 June (earliest)

Events updates:

  • No legal limit on life events
  • Larger events
UK Government Step 4 Covid Response

Source: UK Government Covid-19 Response − Spring 2021

The Four Tests

Before taking each step, the Government will review the latest data on the impact of the previous step against four tests. The tests are:

  1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  4. Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

Events Research Program and Pilot Events

The Government has been working with representatives from industry and civil society to explore when and how events with larger crowd sizes, less social distancing or in settings where transmission is more likely (i.e. indoors), will be able to return safely. This includes sports events, music festivals and large weddings and conferences.

The Government is running a scientific Events Research Programme in the spring, including a series of pilots using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events. The first pilots took place in Liverpool, and explored how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols could ease opening and maximise participation, including the use of lateral flow tests.

Social Distancing

Ahead of Step 4, as more is understood about the impact of vaccines on transmission and more people have been vaccinated, the Government will review social distancing measures. This will help inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which rules on 1m+, face masks and other measures may be lifted.

Covid-19 Certification

The government recently published a document that commits to looking at “whether and how Covid-status certification might be used to reopen our economy, reduce restrictions on social contact and improve safety"

The certificates could record whether someone:
– has been vaccinated
– has had a recent negative test
– has natural immunity

The government is also looking at whether those who have tested positive for the virus within the past six months may have natural immunity. The certificates look set to be offered in both digital and non-digital form.

So what now?

Continued Professional Development

The Safer Events Organiser course equips professional events organisers with accreditation and practical training for planning safer events, and is fully CPD Certified. The CPD Certification Service provides recognised independent CPD accreditation compatible with global CPD requirements, which will help the events sector to build consumer confidence in safe event planning. Those wishing to complete the training and accreditation can do so here.

Keep track of everything Safer Event related and by subscribing to the Safer Events - A Framework for Action white paper.

Planning Ahead

Covid Cover Guarantee

Staying flexible is key in planning your event strategy for 2021.

For every event booked with Hire Space, you can take full advantage of  Covid Cover Guarantee. Our event managers and database full of flexible venues, suppliers and platforms are on hand to switch you to a virtual or hybrid event if your in-person event can't go ahead as planned. You can change your event format up to 14 days prior to the event date, free of charge.

To find out more book a consultation with one of the Hire Space team today.

Maintain Safe Behaviours

Meanwhile, here's a reminder of the behaviours to follow to keep the R rate down. We all have our part to play in reducing the transmission of Covid.

UK Government: How to Maintain Safe Behaviours

Source: UK Government Covid-19 Response − Spring 2021


Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (Medium) (England) Regulations 2020” (SI 2020/1103).

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020

PM press conference statement: 9 September 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Meeting with others safely (social distancing)

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Bolton) Regulations 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, Section 5, Statutory Instrument No. 684, 4th July 2020

The Explanatory Note to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, 4th July 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, Statutory Instrument No. 750,  17th July 2020

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) The Visitor Economy

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) Performing Arts

Disclaimer: We aren't lawyers and this isn't legal advice. We do not take responsibility for the content in this blog.  Always check with your lawyer.