Covid 19 - England Guidance issued to Local Authorities on Organised Events

07 Apr

As we move closer to each easing stage the information machine produces more Guidance.

There is now Guidance to local authorities to help then ensure that events are held safely but such information is useful to those who are planning to undertake such events:Coronavirus (COVID-19): Organised events guidance for local authorities

It confirms the nature of the events permitted from Stage 2 (12th April)

  • agricultural shows
  • steam rallies
  • flower shows
  • gardening shows and events
  • literary fairs
  • car boot sales
  • community fairs
  • village fetes
  • animal and pet shows
  • funfairs and fairgrounds
  • drive-in cinemas and drive-in performance events (eg comedy, dance, music, theatre and air shows)
  • food and drink festivals

But there are footnotes as to what constitutes a drive-in event - People attending drive-in events should remain in their vehicle for the duration of the performance.

Also on drinks festivals - Where the festival resembles an outdoor food market or outdoor hospitality venue, but if people are consuming food and drink at the venue, the table service rule would apply.

 For the event to qualify all 3 of the following conditions must be met:

a) The event takes place outdoors

b) Attendees are expected to arrive and leave the event in a staggered manner throughout the day

c) It does not involve attendees converging on and congregating in a site for a specific discrete performance or activity, such as a theatre or music performance

The Guidance also covers Stage 3 (post 17th May)

The conditionality at this stage remains as set out above but the possible type of events is expanded to be:

  • business events such as conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, charity auctions, and private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality
  • cinemas
  • live performances
  • circuses
  • air shows
  • historical /battle re-enactments
  • metal detecting rallies
  • live animal performances such as falconry displays at events
  • non-elite and professional sporting events

We have a further footnote as to live performances stating - Professional and non-professional/amateur  - further details is avalaible here

Very importantly the Guidance contains a section giving direction to local authorities as to how they should approach applications for events and work with operators. It confirms:

“Decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to both the risks and the mitigations in place as well as the economic and social benefits that events offer to local communities.”

“Any objections to a particular event by a local authority should be based on clear evidence that points to inadequate alignment with guidance or government restrictions, or to the absence of a comprehensive risk assessment.”

The Guidance implicitly indicates that there should be discussion and mediation between the parties stating:

“Event organisers may be able to remove a particular element of the event to allow it to proceed without a cap on numbers, and this should be discussed between local authorities and event organisers where relevant.”

We would suggest that these 2 documents are essential reading for anyone looking to organise event in the near future.

Law correct at the date of publication.
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