On 27 November, the government introduced new measures designed to combat the spread of Coronavirus and the new Omicron strain, including making compulsory the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport. It was announced that anyone coming into this country from abroad would have to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after arriving, and to self-isolate until they had secured a negative result.  

So what does this mean for events?

  • So far, no change. The Prime Minister stressed that "hospitality settings will be exempt", and the remain no restrictions on meetings or events happening for business or social purposes, nor any cap on the total number of attendees
  • No enforcement of social distancing requirements, including the “1m/2m rule”
  • Face coverings no longer required by law (although they are encouraged in crowded spaces)
  • Businesses and events will be encouraged to use Covid-19 certification, particularly for larger gatherings
  • Events organisers encouraged to implement the safety measures they believe to be appropriate for their event
  • Specific Covid-19 risk assessment is no longer required - Covid can form part of your standard risk assessment.
  • There is now no legal requirement for Test and Trace data gathering (recommended only)

Table of Contents

1. So what now?
2. The Four Stages
3. The Four Tests
4. Events Research Program and Pilot Events
5. Social Distancing
6. Covid-19 Certification
7. Thinking Forward

So what now?

The government will continue to monitor infection rates in the coming weeks, and if there’s another spike, restrictions may be reintroduced. For a fuller understanding of how the government is thinking about events, read the Events Research Program report.

The latest guidance for venues and event organisers states: “Venues and event organisers should consider their ventilation strategy, occupancy, operations, space utilisation, and people movement outcomes within an overall risk assessment tailored to each venue."

Undoubtedly, uncertainty remains. At Hire Space we are advising our clients to remain sensitive to attendee uncertainty, and to keep event safety front of mind.

Whilst we have removed many of the recommendations around social distancing, testing and PPE from the Safer Events - A Framework for Action white paper, we recommend retaining some of these measures. Download the white paper for full details.

We are also recommending that our clients keep virtual and hybrid central to their plans for now, to maximise attendance and engagement. Book a demo on Arena if you'd like support on this.

Below is a historic timeline showing the key dates affecting events in England (there were 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.

The Four Stages

Step 1: 8 March, 29 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)

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)

  • 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)

  • 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: 19 July (earliest)

  • 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 reviewed the latest data on the impact of the previous step against four tests. The tests were:

  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 how events with larger crowd sizes, less social distancing or in settings where transmission is more likely (i.e. indoors), are able to return safely. This includes sports events, music festivals and large weddings and conferences.

The Government also ran 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

The Government will continue to 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 re-instated.

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.

Thinking Forward

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.

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). https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1103/made

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020  https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/684/contents

PM press conference statement: 9 September 2020 https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-press-conference-statement-9-september-2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Meeting with others safely (social distancing) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Bolton) Regulations 2020 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/974/pdfs/uksi_20200974_en.pdf

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, Section 5, Statutory Instrument No. 684, 4th July 2020 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/684/regulation/5

The Explanatory Note to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, 4th July 2020 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/684/pdfs/uksiem_20200684_en.pdf

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, Statutory Instrument No. 750,  17th July 2020 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/750/contents/made

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) The Visitor Economy https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) Performing Arts https://www.gov.uk/guidance/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.