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Safer Events

So, can we hold events now?

From 27th January, 2022, the UK will revert to 'Plan A', and most restrictions relevant to event professionals will be lifted.

Measures from 27th Jan include:

  • Mandatory Covid status certification will end, although organisations and venues can use the NHS Covid pass voluntarily.
  • The government will no longer mandate the wearing of face masks anywhere. It will no longer be a criminal offence not to wear one without an exemption.
  • The work-from-home guidance has been lifted.
  • Self-isolation is still a legal requirement for people who have tested positive. From 17 January the isolation period was reduced from seven to five days, provided that people obtained two negative tests on the fifth and sixth days.  

So what does this mean for events?

  • No requirement to cancel or postpone events.
  • No enforcement of social distancing requirements, including the “1m/2m rule”
  • Businesses and events will be allowed to to use Covid-19 certification at their discretion, particularly for larger gatherings. A negative lateral flow test remains an acceptable form of Covid status certification, alongside proof of vaccination.
  • 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 Tests
3. Events Research Program and Pilot Events
4. Social Distancing
5. Covid-19 Certification
6. 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."

Hire Space recommend that our clients keep virtual and hybrid in their thinking, to maximise attendance and engagement. Book a demo on Arena if you'd like support on this.

The Four Tests

Before taking steps to mitigate transmission at events, the Government reviews the latest data against four tests:

  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 of 2021, 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. There are currently no restrictions in place on social distancing.

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

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
  • Most significant life events allowed (30 pax)
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment (including performances)
  • Some larger events allowed, including business meetings and conferences:
UK Government Step 2 Covid Response

Source: UK Government Covid-19 Response − Spring 2021

Step 3: 17th May (earliest)

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
  • No legal limit on life events
  • Larger events
UK Government Step 3 Covid Response

Source: UK Government Covid-19 Response − Spring 2021

Step 4: 19 July (earliest)

UK Government Step 4 Covid Response

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.


Author Edward Poland profile image

Edward Poland

Co-founder of Hire Space. Making event planning a joy with the UK’s leading live venue marketplace.

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