This week the government announced that business events and conferences will be allowed to resume in England from the 1st October, in a huge step forwards for the events sector. This start date is credit to months of lobbying by industry bodies, including the BVEP of whom EVCOM are a member. The announcement is subject to infection rates remaining at their current levels. To prepare, the government are planning to hold pilot events at venues around the country. This will allow them to test how to implement social distancing practises, so that people can begin to plan the return of large-scale events. Details around this are to be released in the coming weeks.
Simon Hughes, Chair of Business Visits and Events Partnership, says, “After several months of lobbying, and providing significant amounts of evidence and research to government, and working closely in partnership with our colleagues at DCMS, we are delighted that today the Prime Minister has finally announced a Go Date of October 1st for the recommencement of business events and exhibitions, subject to the successful completion of some pilot events.
“While this news will come as a great relief to the entire events industry, we are still conscious that the sector will require significant support going forward, as it looks to rebuild and renew, and we will continue to engage with government to look at practical ways to ensure that our world class industry continues to thrive and support the UK’s overall recovery over the years to come.
“We also look forward to working with DCMS to ensure a successful outcome of the pilot scheme and will provide further updates to the industry as soon as we are able.
“Finally, we would like to thank the entire events industry for their patience, resilience and support that they have demonstrated over what has been an incredibly challenging few months, and we look forward to working together, with one voice, as we look towards the next stage of our recovery.”
Guidance on working safely in the visitor economy has been updated to include business events and consumer shows. 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
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