As meetings of up to 30 persons are now being allowed, the BVEP has created a summary of the following guidance to consider when planning meetings at event venues:
- Exhibition and Conference centres that have small, separate and directly accessible meeting facilities as part of the site, may be used to host business meetings and events of up to 30 people, if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.
- If a venue has several separate and directly accessible meeting facilities as part of the site these may be used to host business meetings and events of up to 30 people if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.
- Exhibition Hall or Conference Venue must remain closed by law until at least the 15th August for the purpose of marketing or pre-planning.
- Any permitted venue can host a business meeting of up to 30 people, following COVID-Secure guidelines.
- Basic catering can be provided at meetings and events, following the COVID-19 guidance for bars, pubs and takeaway services. However it is advised not to hold extended sit down meals for large groups. The UKHospitality guidance may also be useful; it recommends grab and go and pre-packed food rather than buffet.
- Banqueting and private dining events should not currently take place in any venue. If a banqueting venue is able to operate as a restaurant (following the relevant BEIS guidance, adhering to rules on social distancing, keeping household groups/bubbles separate, etc) this would be allowed. The dining provision for groups of up to 30 would have applied to weddings only, more widely we advise against extended sit down meals for large groups. Allowing wedding receptions of up to 30 will be kept under review (although will not be before 15 August). BEIS has developed guidance which is currently going through the government approvals process and will be published as soon as possible.
- Receptions, award ceremonies, examinations, filming, fashion shows, product launches, team building exercises will all need to wait until restrictions on business events are lifted (1 October, if public health assessments allow). They will need to carry out risk assessments in line with Visitor Economy and AEO guidance, and the pilots (when they take place) will assess whether that guidance is sufficient or needs updating in any way. Venues may also need to consider mitigations depending on specific aspects of their events (e.g. performing arts guidance on singing/dancing if relevant).
- The guidance states that events should operate at a capacity allowing for compliance with social distancing of 2m, or 1m with mitigations. This should be the fundamental principle. It notes that for conferences and events venues should consider social distancing approximately equivalent to a density of 10㎡ per person, given the additional risks of large groups interacting in this specific environment. The pilots (when they take place) will assess the guidance and whether the mitigations suggested are appropriate/sufficient.
- Academic venues (Universities and Colleges) can use their lecture theatres and classrooms for external meetings of up to 30 people and as above, separate and directly accessible meeting facilities can be used as long as groups are kept separate and all other guidance is followed.
Updates to the Visitor Economy guidance have now been published to reflect the current permissions related to meetings being held of up to 30 persons. You can find this here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy
Details on whether face masks need to be worn in meeting venue settings are still being sought.