• The Events Industry Forum, Association House, 18c Moor Street, Chepstow, NP16 5DB

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This document, effective from 11th March 2021, is designed to help all those involved in organising or attending outdoor events in England understand how to operate safely during this pandemic, keeping as many people as possible socially distanced.

This guidance contains the latest information and has been comprehensively restructured – so please use this rather than previous versions.

The full document is available to everyone, but you do need to register to access. Registration is free.Just create a login and access the guidance. 




You can use the article index to view the individual sections of the guidance or you can download as a PDF following the link below.



The UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.It is critical that employers, employees, the self-employed, volunteers and attendees at events take steps to keep everyone safe.

This document, effective from 11th March 2021.Is designed to help all those involved in organising or attending outdoor events in England understand how to operate safely during this pandemic, keeping as many people as possible socially distanced.

It is the intention of this guidance – as set out in the Government’s Spring Roadmap – to enable outdoor events to take place during the COVID-19 pandemic at the relevant step of the Roadmap if it is safe for them to do so.  The Government is clear that workers, including volunteers, and general public health, should never be put at risk. 

Organisers and suppliers to events should ensure that volunteers are afforded the same level of protection to their health and safety as others, such as employees and attendees.

This document has been prepared and published by the Events Industry Forum with the approval of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

This guidance applies to England.   As public health is devolved in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales it should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements and legislation. 

Guidance set by the devolved nations can be found as follows:

Event organisers are also strongly advised to make contact with local Directors of Public Health as well as Safety Advisory Groups at an early stage when planning an event as local authorities have the powers to prevent events taking place if they are felt to be unsafe or present a risk to public health for either those working on site or the general public.

As this document is regularly reviewed and updated in consultation with DCMS, you should check for updates at www.eventsindustryforum.co.uk. If you register on the site you will automatically be notified when changes are made to the guidance.   Any feedback should be emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

National Restrictions

The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England.

The roadmap has a four-stage plan for getting England out of lockdown, including the earliest dates when each of these stages can happen subject to key criteria being achieved.The timings outlined in the roadmap are indicative, and the Government will be led by data, rather than fixed dates.Before taking each step, the Government will review the latest data and will only ease restrictions further if it is safe to do so.The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates in the roadmap are all contingent on the data and subject to change.The roadmap will be underpinned by regulations.The roadmap sets out to ease restrictions, incrementally, over a period of time.Until those points people must continue to follow the rules set out in law. 

Step 1a - from 8 March

England is still in a national lockdown.People must stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law, and follow the rules in government national lockdown guidance.

Some of the rules on what people can and cannot do changed on 8 March including, people can spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on their own, with their household or support bubble, or with one other person.This means they can sit down for a drink or picnic.People must continue to maintain social distance from those outside their household. 

Businesses permitted to open remain the same as currently allowed.

Step 1b - From 29 March

  • Outdoor sport facilities can reopen for groups of up to six people or with members of up to two households:Gyms, swimming pools, sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts), golf courses, including mini golf, water sports venues, climbing walls, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres, archery venues. 

Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April

At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits- as a single household or bubble indoors; or in a group of 6 people or 2 households outdoors (unless an exemption exists).

  • Outdoor areas at hospitality venues(cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol.These venues may allow customers to use toilets located inside.At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”) 
  • Outdoor attractions can reopen atadventure parks and activities, animal attractions (such as at zoos, safari parks and aquariums), drive in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances, film studios, funfairs and fairgrounds, model villages, museums and galleries, skating rinks, theme parks, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks
  • Outdoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to complying with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits.This could enable spectators at a grassroots sports match or a village fete, provided people do not mix beyond groups of 6 people or two households.Further government guidance on outdoor events is forthcoming.
  • Indoor events that bring people together- even if they do not mix with other households - must not run until Step 3.However, at this point, funerals can continue to proceed with up to 30 attendees.Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
  • Non-essential retailcan reopen.

Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May

At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits - in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors; or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors (unless an exemption exists).

  • Indoor areas of hospitality venues can reopen.As with outdoors, table service will be required. 
  • Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions can reopen, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries, adventure playgrounds and activities, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, bingo halls, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, games, recreation and entertainment venues such as escape rooms and laser quest, play areas (including soft play centres and inflatable parks), model villages, snooker and pool halls, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks, indoor visitor attractions at theme parks and film studios, indoor attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions, indoor attractions at botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes, indoor attractions at sculpture parks, indoor attractions at landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms, indoor attractions at stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites, conference centres and exhibition halls, including for the purposes of business events (subject to the capacity limits set out below)
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment events, such as cinemas, theatres, and other performance events will also be permitted.
  • Both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisationcan be organised, subject to them complying with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists).
  • Spectators will be allowed at elite sporting events and performance events.Attendance at these events will be restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people for indoor events, and 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events.For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25% capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people. 
  • Large business eventswill also be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements as sporting events and performances.

Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June

The intention at this stage is to reopen remaining settings such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, 

  • To lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3.This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.
  • The Government will also look to relax COVID-Secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.

Defining Outdoor Events

This guidance is intended to cover all types of organised event that take place in the open air or within a temporary structure that is well ventilated (see later in guidance).  Some outdoor events may also make use of fixed structures, such as cattle sheds at agricultural shows.  Outdoor events include but are not limited to:

  • Air Shows
  • Agricultural Shows (including town and country shows)
  • Carnivals, Fun fairs, fetes, steam rallies and Community Fairs
  • Car boot sales
  • Circuses
  • Display and Performing Arts including Street Art Events
  • Firework Displays
  • Flower Shows and Gardening Events
  • Historical re-enactment events
  • Literature Fairs / festivals
  • Pet and Animal Shows
  • Some music concerts (see below)
  • Outdoor theatres and performing arts

Where permitted, some forms of smaller events, such as jazz and classical concerts, may be able to adapt to this guidance and manage social distancing. 

Separate guidance for festivals and concerts has been produced by the industry and is available on the Purple Guide website at https://www.thepurpleguide.co.uk/

The Role of Local Authorities

Local authorities are responsible for permitting or prohibiting organised outdoor events from taking place in their local area.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.

Event organisers should consult with their local authority as early as possible when planning an event.The earlier this is done, the more time you are providing to secure agreement for your event to proceed and for any relevant licenses to be issued. 

Your local authority will review your risk assessment and can give you advice on how to manage your event whilst reducing risks to the local area. 

Find out if the local authority intends to convene a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) and how best to engage with this.  If a SAG is convened ask for the local Director of Public Health to be involved 

If no SAG is convened, contact the local Director of Public Health to discuss the event and whether any additional assurances are needed.Even when all necessary permissions are granted, the local authority can consider prohibiting, restricting or imposing requirements if they consider – often on the advice of the Director of Public Health - an event presents a serious and imminent threat to public health.   So, a good two-way channel of communication is essential.

Organised outdoor events should be permitted unless they pose a threat to public health, provided that they follow relevant guidance and adhere to all legal requirements.   This guidance has been written in full consultation with Public Health England.   If an authority decides that an event cannot take place, they should share their risk assessment with the event organiser so that their reasoning can be understood.

If local authorities are concerned about an event, they should discuss those concerns with the event organiser at the earliest possible opportunity and, wherever possible, advise what actions might be taken to mitigate any risks or concerns in order for the event to go ahead.

Further guidance has been produced for local authorities by DCMS in consultation with Public Health England.This guidance can be found at Appendix 4. 

If appropriate, the Government has powers under Schedule 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 to close venues hosting large gatherings or prohibit certain events (or types of event) from taking place, and a power under regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) Regulations 2020 to restrict access to a public place.


Where the enforcing authority, such as the HSE or the local authority, identifies organisers or businesses which are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they are empowered to take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks.For example, this would cover employers not taking appropriate action to ensure social distancing was in place.

Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19 or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law.The actions the enforcing authority can take include providing advice to organisers/businesses to help them achieve the required standard, through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements. 

Serious breaches and failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence, with serious fines and even imprisonment for up to two years.There is also a wider system of enforcement, which includes specific obligations and conditions for licensed premises.

Employers are expected to respond to any advice or notices issued by enforcing authorities rapidly and are required to do so within any timescales imposed by the enforcing authorities.The vast majority of employers are responsible and will join with the UK's fight against COVID-19 by working with the Government and their sector bodies to protect their workers and the public.However, inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that employers are taking the necessary steps.

A Risk Assessment Approach

This document sets out guidance on how outdoor events can be organised safely while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19.  While it provides practical suggestions for how events can take place safely, it is recognised that each event is different and organisers will need to undertake their own risk assessments to minimise the risks to all those involved, from workers, volunteers and contractors to attendees.This guidance only relates to activities permitted by English law.

This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equality regulations and it is important that, as a business or an employer, organisers continue to comply with their existing obligations and legislation, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics.   A COVID risk assessment should be undertaken as an addition to the normal health & safety and fire risk assessments that event organisers are required to do.

When organising outdoor events with live performances, organisers should take account of Government guidance on Performing Arts.    All performances must be in line with the Performing Arts Guidance.    

It should also be noted that some large-scale concerts and festivals are unlikely to be able to go ahead due to local restrictions, capacity caps and social distancing requirements.  This is likely to include events such as those represented by the Concert Promoters Association, The Association of Festival Organisers and the Association of Independent Festivals. 

Any reference to ‘households’ includes ‘support bubbles’ as defined in the Government guidance on Meeting people from outside your household.

In creating a COVID-safe risk assessment, organisers and venues must take into account factors beyond the confines of the event site, including the cumulative impact of many venues re-opening in a small area; the impact the event might have on local community facilities; and the impact on transportation to and from the event.This means working with local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and potentially applying additional mitigations.These could include:

  • Further lowering capacity - even if it is possible to safely accommodate a number of people inside a venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel or enter that venue.
  • Staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas.
  • Arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues.
  • Advising attendees to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue.

As many outdoor events involve a mix of activities, from catering to retail services, particular attention needs to be paid to specific regulations relating to these activities which may need to be observed.   Similarly, where events include performances (including demonstrations), regulations relating to the Performing Arts may apply, particularly in respect of how audiences should be socially distanced.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with The Purple Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Other Events and the Circus Safety Toolkit Guide as well as the following Guidance:

Issued by BEIS:

Issued by DCMS/ALB:

This guidance applies to the organisation of outdoor events.However, it is also of relevance to anyone who has some degree of responsibility for the venue or the event.Where there is more than one responsible person or organisation – for example, the venue owner/operator, a person who has hired the venue for a period of time and the users of the venue – they will need to co-operate to ensure that they give proper consideration to this guidance. *

Social Distancing

Social distancing is fundamental to creating a COVID-safe event and applies to all those visiting or working on the event site, including attendees.

All those working on-site, including volunteers and contractors

  • Social distancing should be maintained, wherever possible.
  • 2m or 1m with risk mitigation (where 2m is not viable) are acceptable.The mitigations should be set out in the event risk assessment.
  • Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in relation to a particular activity, organisers should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the event to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between workers.Mitigating actions might include:
    • Further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.
    • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
    • Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
    • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face), whenever possible.
    • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using fixed teams or partnering (so each person works with only a few others).
  • Social distancing applies to all areas, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings.These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing
  • Site access points for those working on site should be managed in respect of social distancing.
  • Maintain good ventilation in the work environment.For example, opening windows and doors frequently, where possible.


  • Social distancing should be maintained, wherever possible - and at all times - between attendees who are from different households or support bubbles, and between attendees and staff/performers.
  • Social interactions must follow government guidelines on social contact:
    Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April: Rule of 6 or 2 households outdoors.Single households / support bubble indoors.
    Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May: 30 people outdoors.Rule of 6 or 2 households indoors.
    Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June: lifting of social contact restrictions subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.
  • Particular attention needs to be given to maintaining social distancing at points where there is direct interaction between them and those working on the site.
  • Care needs to be given at ingress and egress points to avoid crowding, including means for maintaining social distancing when handling tickets and passes as well as bag checking.
  • Those operating venues, or running events, should take additional steps to prevent large mass gatherings from taking place within the event.

Face Coverings

In some locations and settings, such as indoor retail and catering areas, the wearing of face coverings is mandatory for both staff and customers unless they are consuming food and drink or have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one or are not able to wear one, for example, because of their age or a health condition.

A face covering can be very simple.It just needs to cover the mouth and nose.It is not the same as a face mask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers.Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context. 

Supplies of PPE, including face masks, should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.  

In areas where the wearing of face coverings is not required by regulation, event organisers should consider their use as part of their COVID risk assessment.

Please be mindful that the wearing of a face covering may inhibit communication with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.  Some people may also have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one, or are not able to wear one, for example, because of their age or a health condition.   

The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect the user, but it may protect others if the user is infected but has not developed symptoms. 

Businesses are also required to remind customers to wear face coverings where this is mandated (e.g.by displaying posters).

People are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

Guidance on face coverings can be found here

It is important to know that the evidence of the benefit of using a face covering to protect others is weak and the effect is likely to be small, therefore face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing.These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and government would, therefore, not expect to see organisers or employers relying on face coverings as risk management for the purpose of their health and safety assessments.

People should remove face coverings if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.

Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one.This means telling workers:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and after removing it.
  • When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands.
  • Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it.
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly.
  • Change and wash your face covering daily.
  • If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions.If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in usual in the non-recylable waste stream.
  • Practise social distancing, wherever possible.

Face-coverings can be made at home and guidance on how to do this can be found here

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one.This means telling workers: 

PPE protects the user against health or safety risks at work.It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.It includes respiratory protective equipment, such as face masks. 

Where PPE is already used by workers to protect against nonCOVID-19 risks, they should continue to use it.

When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what is usually worn is not beneficial as COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks normally faced in a workplace.  It needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.

The exception is clinical settings, such as an on-site medical centre or a small handful of other roles for which Public Health England advises use of PPE, such as for first responders.  Guidance is available for those in groups at:

PPE should not be used to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

Risk assessments should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection against COVID-19 is extremely limited.However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you should provide this PPE free of charge to those workers who need it. 


A suitably trained manager should be appointed to coordinate and oversee the implementation of health management on site, including the development of a health risk assessment which should form part of the overall event risk assessment.This may fall within the remit of the event safety manager, if they are suitably trained.

Assessing the Risks

Every event, whether large or small, should carry out a detailed risk assessment to identify any issues that could put the public and those working or attending the event site in any danger.   This risk assessment should take account of factors required under health and safety or fire regulations as well issues affecting public health.   It should also specify what actions are being taken to mitigate all the risks that are identified.

As part of this risk assessment, consideration should be given to the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics.This risk assessment should also be done in consultation with unions or workers. 

Everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19, and in the case of events, this should take into account all those attending the event site, including workers, volunteers, delivery drivers and attendees. 

Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety.This means organisers need to think about the risks they face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising that it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

This guidance is intended to help those responsible for managing events to make appropriate decisions and introduce appropriate control measures to minimise the risks.Consideration should also be given to the security implications of any decisions and control measures you intend that are put in place, as any revisions could present new or altered security risks that may require further mitigation. 

A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks.Those with fewer than five workers, or who are self-employed, do not legally have to write anything down as part of their risk assessment but it is always advisable to do so in order to be able to demonstrate that all the risks have been considered should anything go wrong. 

There are interactive tools available to help the writing of a risk assessment from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE):

Protecting Workers and Volunteers

Employers have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest possible level by taking preventative measures.  Employers should work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace so that everybody's health and safety is protected.   In the context of COVID-19, this means protecting the health and safety of your workers and attendees by taking steps to minimise the risks.  The following key measures should be considered:

  • Decide who needs to be on the event site.Working from home remains the best way to keep the virus under control, so wherever possible workers should be encouraged to work from home unless they need to be on site.
  • Where working from home is not possible, workplaces should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (keeping people socially distances wherever possible).
  • It is also important to monitor the wellbeing of people who are working from home and help them to stay connected with the rest of the workforce, especially if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.
  • Consider the maximum number of people who can safely be accommodated on site operating within COVID-safe rules.
  • Review the layouts where people work in one place to enable them to maintain social distancing, wherever possible.
  • Assign workstations to an individual as much as possible.If a workstation needs to be shared, it should be shared by the smallest possible number of people.
  • Touch points should be disinfected between users.
  • In situations where gloves are needed for safety reasons (e.g.for handling certain materials) workers need to be reminded of the risks of them carrying pathogens and should be advised not to touch other parts of their body while wearing them.
  • Where possible, use systems/equipment that does not involve touch – such as contactless payments.
  • Microphones, headphones, tools and personal equipment should not be used by different people without being disinfected between each use or quarantined for sufficient time.
  • Where box offices, customer service kiosks or similar constructions are needed on site, staff working in them should be protected by screens.
  • Ensure that those coming onto site are fit to work and are not suffering from any symptoms of COVID-19 or otherwise feeling unwell.
  • Encourage increased frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.All those working on site should be encouraged to wash their hands regularly (and particularly before and after eating, drinking or using the toilets) with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Sufficient hand washing and sanitiser facilities should be easily accessible around the site throughout the event, from build-up to break down.The number required will depend on the event.
  • Disposable towels or electric dryers should be used – never use cloth hand towels.
  • Sanitisers should be antiviral with a high alcohol content.
  • Workers should be advised of the risk of severe burns if alcohol sanitisers are still present on the skin near naked flames or sources of static electricity.
  • Use floor tape or paint to help people maintain social distancing.
  • Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, organisers or contractors should consider whether that activity needs to continue and, if so, take steps to reduce the risk of transmission between those involved.
  • If people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, or if workstations cannot be socially distanced, then organisers need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead.No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.
  • Further mitigating actions could include:
    • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
    • Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
    • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face).
    • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others).
  • As far as possible, where workers are split into teams or shift groups, fixing these teams or shift groups so that where contact is unavoidable, this happens between the same people.
  • Identifying areas where people have to directly pass things to each other and finding ways to remove direct contact such as by using drop-off points or transfer zones.
  • Creating zones to separate groups.For example, those who work front of house (such as sound operators) from other production team members and performers.
  • Ensuring that where things have to be passed to others, they are appropriately sanitised.
  • Where an individual is operating on a peripatetic basis, such as a freelance musician or choreographer, and operating across multiple groups or individuals they should maintain distancing with each group.
    • Avoid situations where the social distancing requirement is broken, for example a choreographer demonstrating partnering work in dancing.
    • Make efforts to reduce the number of groups interacted with, and locations worked in, to minimize the number of contacts made.
    • Consider a regular private testing programme with an accredited testing system.
  • Assist the Test and Trace service by keeping a temporary record of staff shift patterns for 21 days and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data, if needed.   This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

(NOTE:  The above list is not finite, and each business should consider if there are other mitigating factors which apply to their circumstances) 

Risk assessments should carefully consider worker safety, especially of those working closely with members of the audience.


Wherever possible, remote working tools should be used to avoid in person meetings.   Meetings should only take place where absolutely necessary, in which case:

  • Meetings should be held outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms, whenever possible.
  • Participants should maintain social distancing (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable).
  • Touch points should be avoided.For example, avoiding sharing pens and other objects.
  • Hand sanitiser should be provided in meeting rooms.
  • In areas where regular meetings take place, floor signage should be used to help people maintain social distancing.

Common Areas

To avoid transmission of the virus in areas that are shared by the workforce:

  • Stagger break times to reduce pressure on the staff rest rooms or places to eat.
  • Use safer outside areas for breaks.
  • Install screens to protect workers in reception or similar areas.
  • Provide pre-packaged meals or similar to avoid queuing and unnecessary contact with catering staff
  • Configure seating and tables to optimise spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions.
  • Encourage workers to remain on-site and, when not possible, to maintain social distancing while off-site.
  • Consider use of social distance markings for other common areas such as toilets, showers, lockers and changing rooms and in any other areas where queues typically form.


Employers have a duty to consult their workforce on health and safety matters, including the risks identified and the preventative and protective measures being put in place to address those.This can be done by listening and talking to them about the work and how manage COVID-19 risks will be managed. 

The people who do the work are often the best people to understand the risks in the workplace and will have a view on how to work safely.Involving them in making decisions shows concern for their health and safety.   It is also important to consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there is not one, a representative chosen by the workers.  Employers cannot decide who the representative will be.

At its most effective, full involvement of your workers creates a culture where relationships between employers and workers are based on collaboration, trust and joint problem solving. 

Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues.If concerns still cannot be resolved, see below for further steps you can take.

You must share information with your workforce about health and safety matters.  This should be done by displaying a notification in a prominent place in the business and on its website.  All employers with over 50 workers are expected to provide their information on their website.

How to raise a concern:

  • Contact your employee representative.
  • Contact your trade union if you have one.
  • Contact your local licensing authority.
  • Use the HSE form
  • Contact HSE by phone on 0300 003 1647.

Enable Self-isolation where needed 

Support should be given to people who have symptoms of COVID-19; who live in a household or are in a support bubble with someone who has the symptoms; or are advised to self-isolate as part of the NHS Test and Trace service (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing)


  • Current guidance for employeesand employersrelating to statutory sick pay due to COVID-19.
  • current guidancefor people who have symptoms and those who live with others who have symptoms.
  • current guidancefor contacts with possible or confirmed Coronavirus (COVID19) infection who do not live with the person.

Coming to work and leaving work

Organisers should encourage those working on site, including volunteers, to observe COVID safety rules when travelling to and from the event site.

  • Minimise non-essential travel – consider remote options first.
  • Encourage travelling with people from outside their household or support bubble in one vehicle to have fixed travel partners and to increase ventilation in vehicles, if possible, and avoid sitting face-to-face.
  • Encourage workers to walk or cycle to the site. 
  • If use of public transport is necessary, the wearing a face covering is mandatory unless workers are exempt for health, disability or other reasons.
  • Make sure passengers in shared vehicles, such as minibuses, are kept safe.This could include leaving seats empty.
  • Where security access devices, such as keypads or passes, are used at entry/exit points, consider adjusting processes to reduce risk of transmission.For example, cleaning pass readers regularly and asking staff to hold their passes next to pass readers rather than touching them.
  • Make sure all those coming onto the event site to work, including delivery drivers and contractors appointed by traders and suppliers, are fully briefed on the event’s health requirements – in advance, if possible.
  • Consider getting all those coming onto the site – other than the attendees –to register each time they are on site confirming they are not suffering from COVID-19 symptoms or living in the same household or support bubble as someone who is unwell.Also, whether they share a household or accommodation with anyone in a vulnerable group who is self-isolating.If yes, they should not be allowed onto the site.Event organisers have a responsibility for the safety of all those on site, whether directly employed or not.
  • The registration process should be risk assessed so that it can be done safely, preferably before they leave home on-line.It is the responsibility of their employer to ensure that this is done.
  • Organisers should consider the details they gather through registration, for example a mobile phone number.Care needs to be taken to comply with the GDPR – see separate section.
  • Consideration should be given to creating an isolation/quarantine point, close to the entrance or exit, where anyone found to be unwell or at risk can be taken.
  • Consider how to get any workers who become unwell off the site and home safely.
  • Consider staggering arrival and departure times to reduce crowding at ingress and egress points, taking account of the impact on those with protected characteristics.
  • Reduce congestion, for example, by having more entry points to the site at larger events.
  • Use markings and introduce one-way flow systems at ingress and egress points as well as any points where there is risk of crowding.
  • Provide handwashing facilities (or hand sanitiser where not possible) at ingress and egress points.
  • Manage check systems at ingress and egress points to avoid contact and maintain social distancing.
  • Clean shared vehicles between shifts or on handover.
  • Where workers are required to stay away from their home, log where they are staying and make sure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines.

On-site illness 

  • Anyone working on the event site who starts to feel unwell or shows any symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately isolate themselves from other workers and either stay in isolation until medical assistance can be brought to them or leave the site altogether.
  • Consideration should be given to creating an isolation/quarantine area (ideally close to medical facilities) from the start of construction through to the conclusion of breakdown.Consideration should be given to providing suitable qualified medical staff at these points.
  • Those taken ill should report their illness to their supervisor/manager immediately and ask for a COVID-19 test on the NHS website.
  • Those with symptoms should be sent home and asked to request a COVID-19 test through the NHS Test and Trace service.
  • Consideration should also be given to sending home any co-workers who have been in close contact with the person taken ill, including those who have shared transport with them, particularly as it is known that some people can carry the virus and show no symptoms at all.Close contacts of COVID-19 cases should follow the governmentadvice and self-isolate for 14 days.

Protecting people who are at higher risk

The clinically extremely vulnerable can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but should carry on working from home, wherever possible.   

Extra care should be taken where clinically vulnerable individuals need to be on site.They should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).    If they cannot maintain social distancing, you must carefully assess whether the work they will be doing involves an acceptable level of risk.   

Particular attention should also be paid to people who live with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Ensure any changes to entries, exit and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled customers.For example, maintaining pedestrian and parking access for disabled customers.

See guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable form Covid-19.

Event organisers should be aware of the mental health and wellbeing of all those working for them.  The Government has published guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus which can be found here

Accidents and first aid

In an emergency, such as an accident or need for evacuation, people do not have to maintain social distancing if it would be unsafe.

People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards, including washing hands.

Organisers should review their incident and emergency procedures to ensure they reflect the social distancing principles as far as possible.


Regular and thorough cleaning is an essential part of creating a COVID-safe event.  This involves:

  • Frequent cleaning of waste areas and potential touch points around the event site, such as door handles, needs to be undertaken with suitable detergents and sanitisers.
  • Ample stocks of alcohol sanitisers and wash facilities should be available at all the locations where these are provided.
  • Frequently cleaning work areas and equipment between uses, applying normal cleaning products.
  • Reviewing the Performing Arts Guidance for additional advice on handling musical instruments, technical equipment and other similar objects.
  • Paying particular attention to areas that are likely to be touching points for the public and workers, such as door handles, waste bin lids, tables and chairs etc., all of which need to be regularly disinfected. 
  • Particular attention should be paid to areas where there is high traffic, such as backstage and all common areas.
  • When cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 (for example in designated isolation/quarantine areas), refer to specific guidance.
  • Frequent clearing of bins and waste from around the event site is important and those responsible should be provided suitable personal protective equipment and should be trained to clean surfaces around bins etc.that may be touched by the public, using a suitable detergent or sanitiser


Public toilets, whether portable or fixed, should be kept open and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.  

  • Use signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing techniques, the need to increase handwashing frequency and to discourage people from touching their face.
  • Encourage people to cough or sneeze into a tissue and to bin it safely, or into their arm if a tissue is not available.
  • Consider the use of social distancing marking in areas where queues normally form, and the adoption of a limited entry approach, with one in, one out (whilst avoiding the creation of additional bottlenecks).
  • Consider making hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets and ensure suitable handwashing facilities are available, including running water, liquid soap and suitable options for drying (either paper towels or hand driers) are available.
  • Provide clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets, with increased frequency of cleaning in line with usage.
  • It is recommended that alcohol-based cleaning products are used when toilets are in use as these are effective for COVID-19 within 1 minute.Normal cleaning agents, which take longer to deal with COVID-19, can be used for the final clean each day.
  • Particular attention should be given to the frequency of cleaning hand-touched surfaces and consider use of disposable cloths or paper roll to clean all hard surfaces.
  • Keep the facilities well ventilated, for example by fixing doors open, where appropriate.
  • Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.
  • Put up a visible cleaning schedule and keep it up to date.
  • Provide more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

Those responsible should be aware that the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

Moving around the event site

Movement around an event site should be kept to a minimum.

  • Reduce movement by discouraging non-essential trips within sites.For example, by restricting access to some areas or encouraging use of radios or telephones, where possible.These items require cleaning between users if in multi-use.
  • Introduce one-way flow through the site and structures.
  • Provide floor markings and signage to remind both workers and attendees to follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Regulate the flow of traffic areas.
  • Manage pinch points to avoid crowding.
  • Where vehicles such as golf buggies and mobility scooters are used by staff or visitors to get around events, keeping these away from potential pinch points around shows. 
  • Hired buggies and scooters should be cleaned after each use.

Equality in the workplace

Employers have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers and need to take into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics.   This will require:

  • Involving and communicating appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics, such as those who have difficulty hearing or who are visually impaired.This might be addressed allocating them to a different task involving less risk or avoiding taking any steps that might be inappropriate or challenging for them.
  • Consider whether there is a need to put any particular measures or adjustments in place to ensure compliance with equalities legislation.
  • Making reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage and assessing the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.
  • Make sure that the steps taken do not have an unjustifiable negative impact on some groups compared to others.For example, those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

Communication and Training

As part of maintaining COVID-safe working practices, it is important to communicate clearly with - and reassure - everyone about the rules that been put in place to make sure everyone is safe.

To this end:

  • Organisers should establish communications systems and training materials for briefing all those coming onto the site of the procedures they need to follow on site and particularly on arrival at the site.Ideally this should be sent to them in advance.
  • All those working on site, including workers, contractors, suppliers, volunteers, traders, caterers and so forth, should be provided with written guidance on the site’s health policy.
  • The site health rules should form a key part of induction training should take place in accordance with social distancing rules and preferably on-line in advance of workers coming onto site to minimise contact.
  • If induction meetings are held on site they should be held outdoors, if possible, with social distancing in place. 
  • Particular attention should be given to briefing volunteers who might not be familiar with COVID-19 work practices.
  • Clear, consistent and regular communication should be used to improve understanding and remind all those on site of the COVID-safe rules.
  • The use of images and clear language is important as for some English may not be their first language.
  • Using visual communications, such as signage will help to explain changes to schedules, breakdowns or materials shortages and reduce the need for face-to-face communication.
  • Everyone working on the site should agree to abide by the COVID-safe rules and necessary changes in working arrangements.
  • Ongoing engagement should be maintained with workers, contractors, suppliers, volunteers, traders and all those working on the event site to monitor and understand any unforeseen impacts of changes to working environments.
  • It is important that event organisers require all their contractors to follow their rules and ensure that their staff are suitably trained and briefed about them.
  • Requiring contractors, volunteers and other workers to arrive on site early for a health safety briefing is advisable.

Signage on site should be used to remind workers of the need to socially distance and to wash hands regularly.

Collecting of personal data for test and trace

The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace.It is a legal requirement for venues and those responsible for organising events to record the contact details of those attending the event site (including workers and staff) and to keep a temporary record of attendees for 21 days, in a way that is manageable.  They must also assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.  

Those responsible for organising events, and businesses working on an event site, must also keep contact details of staff working on the site, and shift times, on any given day.These records must be kept for a period of 21 days.

Many events that sell tickets already have systems for recording their attendees.  Those organising unticketed events should try to do so to help fight the virus.  Details of how to maintain records can be found here.

There is also an NHS App which can be used to log in attendees - see here.

In the case of group bookings for events, the name and contact details of at least one member of the group must be taken and kept for 21 days.

Event sites, particularly those that are not pre-ticketed, must display an official NHS QR code poster at entry points so that staff and attendees can 'check in' using this option, if they wish.

Organisers must ensure that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is observed, which will involve understanding the legal requirements, notifying people of any testing that is undertaken and completing a data impact assessment.

It should be noted that those found not to be compliant with these regulations may be subject to financial penalties.   Information about these requirements can be found here


Organisers should give consideration to the management of deliveries to the site and to how breakdown at the end of the event is handled in a COVID-safe way.

  • Delivery times should be scheduling/pre-booking, wherever possible.
  • Consider ways of avoiding queuing and congestion by creating separate off-site holding areas for deliveries.
  • Pick-up and drop-off collection points and procedures should be clearly communicated in advance with direction signage and markings on site.
  • Stagger deliveries to avoid queuing at ingress and egress points.
  • Stagger the breakdown and departure of stands, stages etc.from the site at the end of the event
  • Eliminate unnecessary contact at ingress and egress points
  • Put procedures in place to minimise person-to-person contact during deliveries.
  • Minimising contact during exchange of documentation, for example by using electronically signed and exchanged documents.
  • Where it is possible and safe, have single workers load or unload vehicles.
  • Where more than one person is needed to load/unload a vehicle, use workers who are part of the same team, if possible.
  • Enabling drivers to access welfare facilities when required, consistent with other guidance.
  • Encourage drivers to stay in their vehicles where this does not compromise their safety and existing safe working practice, such as preventing vehicle theft.
  • Making sure that hand hygiene facilities are available for drivers coming onto the site.

Suppliers, Traders and Caterers etc.

Organisers should reference the restrictions for the area where the event is being held in terms of what retail and foodservice operations are permitted to do.

  • Organisers should consider requesting that suppliers only send staff to event sites who have declared themselves well that day.
  • Organisers should require suppliers to sanitize equipment before it is handed over on site.
  • Organisers should provide suppliers with details of their COVID-19 policy/requirements and ask them to sign up to abide by these in advance of the event.
  • Organisers should consider requiring all those with stands, or operating in areas where they will have an interface with the public, to undertake a risk assessment and provide the organiser with details of how they will shield their staff and the public to minimise risk and maintain social distancing.
  • Organisers may wish to provide guidelines for traders etc.but this should not be an alternative to traders providing their own risk assessments and thinking through the issues.This should include plans to move staff to a safe place and in isolation if they become unwell.
  • Organisers should insist on a consistent approach from all traders and caterers throughout the event.
  • Consideration should be given to avoiding pinch points when deciding on trader siting.
  • All catering facilities should take into account social distancing in the way they operate, where possible, avoiding queues.
  • All food and drink operations on the event site must comply with hospitality rules operating in the local area.
  • Catering facilities should be required to operate to the standards required of foodservice operations generally and should comply with appropriate foodservice andfood retailing COVID-19 guidance
  • Encourage caterers to operate a click and collect service, possibly through an event app.
  • If tables and chairs are provided, these should be suitably spaced, in line with social distancing requirements, and frequently cleaned with suitable detergents/sanitisers.
  • Where a kiosk or outlet can only provide a takeaway service under the rules customers can eat and drink anywhere in the outdoor setting.
  • Customers should be reminded to adhere to safe social distancing when queuing for food and drink by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that customers can follow.The employment of extra marshals to enforce this may be necessary.
  • From Step 1b, 29 March and until Step 3, no earlier than the 17 May, customers eating and drinking in the outdoor setting should not gather in groups of more than 6 people or two households and signs should be put up to remind customers not to gather beyond their permitted groups (unless exemptions apply) when consuming food and drink outdoors. 
  • Further guidance on these restrictions can be found in Government Hospitality guidance
  • Customers may purchase food or drink from an indoor counter to takeaway and consume in an outdoor setting if there is no adjacent seating available. 
  • All food should be suitably covered.
  • Caterers should not be allowed to trade without suitable hand washing facilities.
  • Where possible, single use containers should be used, and attendees should be encouraged to throw these in waste bins after use.
  • Organisers should agree working requirements for food suppliers in advance, including controls on incoming goods etc.
  • Any food sampling should be done in a way to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Traders should follow the guidance for retailing.
  • Where exhibitors/traders share a structure, the Government’s retail guidance should be followed, including one-way systems and signage etc., to maintain social distancing.
  • Any activity which involves close contact, such as printed materials or a ‘thank you’ (for example, a badge for adopting an animal), should only be done in a way that is safe.Where items are offered in exchange for support, only do this where it can be collected from an appropriate distance and with hygiene measures in place (for example, through the availability of hand sanitiser).
  • Traders should discourage attendees from handling products and should use display systems to avoid this.

Performances, including rehearsals, training and preproduction

See Performing Arts Guidance.

Stages, dressing rooms and similar areas

See Performing Arts Guidance.

Keeping attendees safe

Where outdoor events are permitted, social distancing should be maintained at all times.

Risk assessments should specifically consider the maximum capacity both in terms of the ability to manage audience behaviour and maintain social distancing while keeping within any limits set under rules. 

Capacities should be assessed based on the size of the event space and expectations of audience behaviour to ensure that social distancing can be maintained.It should also be limited to avoid putting pressure on local and public transport.

Event organisers should also:

  • Consider the security implications of any changes made to operations and practices in response to COVID-19, as any revisions may present new or altered security risks which may need mitigations.
  • Consider whether sufficient staff are appropriately trained to keep people safe.For example, having dedicated staff to encourage social distancing or to manage security.
  • For organisations who conduct physical searches of people, consider how to ensure the safety of those conducting searches while maintaining security standards.
  • Following government guidance on managing security risks.

Enclosed structures and ventilation

As set out in 5(6) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) Regulations 2020, a place is indoors if it would be considered to be enclosed or substantially enclosed for the purposes of section 2 of the Health Act 2006 under the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006.

Some events may include indoor and outdoor elements.Enclosed or partially enclosed structures, such as marquees or tented structures, including circus events, should limit attendee capacity so that social distancing can be maintained.

Event organisers should also consider additional mitigations to reduce the risks of transmission in enclosed or partially enclosed structures, such as providing sanitisation points and reminding audiences to avoid raising their voices.Face coverings should be strongly recommended for event attendees present in enclosed or partially enclosed structures, apart from when they are consuming food or drink.

Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, so event organisers should focus on improving general ventilation, preferably through fresh air or mechanical systems.  Lifting or removing side walls from enclosed or partially enclosed structures, such as marquees, can help to circulate fresh air.

In addition, organisers should take steps to maintain social distancing between attendees, staff and performers by:

  • Managing audiences to avoid pinch points, particularly at entrances and at access points to seating.
  • Lowering capacity - even if it is possible to safely seat a number of people inside a venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel or enter that venue.
  • Giving specific consideration to ingress and egress management, car parking, public transport, hand washing facilities and areas such as arenas, stages or demonstration sites where crowding can take place.Requirements for permanent structures may differ from green field sites.
  • Staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas.
  • Arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues.
  • Advising attendees to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue.
  • Making attendees aware of, and encouraging compliance with, limits on gatherings, for example, on arrival or at booking.

Crowd Management 

Organisers, in consultation with those responsible for crowd management, should consider the need for social distancing and the risks of overcrowding when planning and, where necessary, restrict the numbers allowed on the site – or in a particular area – at any one time.Depending on the type of event, this may be best achieved through ticket numbers.However, for events where there is no ticketing, organisers will need to consider using other communications approaches, coupled with site stewarding, to manage the numbers attending.

  • The expected interactions among participants occurring during the event will need to be considered and sufficient controls should be put in place to ensure social distancing is maintained.
  • Attendees who are accompanied by children should be reminded that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Crowd density points, such as where people stop to watch displays, need to be managed to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
  • Signage should be provided on the approach to, and around, the event site to remind attendees of the need for social distancing and to clearly direct them to facilities such as hand washing locations and quarantine areas.
  • Activities or features that are likely to encourage audience behaviour increasing transmission risk, such as crowding, clustering and physical contact outside of household groups or support bubbles should be avoided and prevented.
  • Announcements should be made frequently to encourage attendees to respect distancing measures.
  • The risk of alcohol impairing social distancing should be managed through, where needed, controls on the purchase or consumption of alcohol (including alcohol brought by attendees on site or into the premises). (NOTE:Alcohol sale restrictions may apply under in some situations)
  • Where there could be a risk from use of other substances, organisers should consult with the appropriate enforcement agencies and crowd management specialists.
  • All events of over 30 people should be ticketed or otherwise controlled to ensure that Covid-19 secure guidance and government regulation is upheld.The numbers of tickets issued should ensure that social distancing can be maintained.Ticketing should also be used to support test and trace (see Test & Trace Section)
  • All reasonable effort should be made to manage arrivals on site to avoid crowding and queuing, such as by ensuring that there are sufficient entrance points and advising attendees in advance which entrance to use.
  • It is good practice for ticketed events to provide attendees with staggered arrival times and to provide barriered queuing systems that are marked out to encourage that social distancing is maintained between those queuing.
  • Consideration should be given to managing family groups who may wish to remain closer than the required social distance but who, in doing so, may encourage others to cluster in a similar manner.Communication is key to this.
  • Consideration should be given to planning car parking to allow sufficient spacing for the social distancing of occupants.This will be particularly important at events where attendees may gather around their vehicles during an event or make frequent visits to their vehicles to collect chairs, coats, drinks etc.

Attendee Transport

Organisers should anticipate that with the public concerned about social distancing, more may travel to their event by car rather than using public transport.This may necessitate additional car parking arrangements.

Advance ticketing should be considered to control parking.Alternatively, an A-Z or odd/even number approach might be used to stagger arrivals at car parks. 

(NOTE: Organisers should be aware that, as service providers, their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 remain in place.  This means that it is important to continue to ensure that any event is reasonably accessible to disabled people and that any COVID-19 related planning actions preserve existing accessibility, such as accessible car parking and access routes around a site.)

Entertainment Areas Safe

Appropriate measures need to be put in place to help ensure that all those working or attending a demonstration or display are kept COVID-safe.   This may involve:

  • Positioning event staff in key areas to encourage those attending to maintain the basic rules of social distancing.
  • Ensuring that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other.This includes – but is not limited to – refraining from activity, that may encourage shouting.This is because of the potential increased risk of transmission – particularly from aerosol and droplet transmission.
  • Managing seating to ensure the maintenance of social distancing.Key principles to follow for seating include:
    • Audiences should be seated as individuals or groups from the same household or support bubble.
    • Individuals and groups should maintain social distancing from others.
    • Seating and space for those requiring disabled seating or wheelchair space should be considered within the social distancing arrangements and with due regard to accessibility responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.
    • Where possible, ticketing systems should be used to allocate seating to ensure social distancing is maintained, with consideration given to avoiding people crowding to get to their seats.Staggered entry and exit may be used to achieve this.
    • If unallocated seating is provided, organisers should consider installing seat separation or labelling/taping off seats which should not be used. 
    • It is expected that guests will take responsibility for their own and others’ welfare and abide by social distancing in seated areas.Staff should, nevertheless, be deployed to ensure that these measures are being observed.This may include increased checks and supervision, in particular before and at the end of each performance.
  • Consider having clearly designated positions from which event staff can provide advice or assistance whilst themselves maintaining social distance.
  • Reconfigure entertainment spaces to enable attendees to be seated rather than stand.For example, repurposing dance floors for attendee seating. 

Ingress and Egress

Getting people in and out of venues, whether an event site or a marquee etc., needs careful managing as these are potential pinch points where social distancing may be more difficult to control.  This should be considered as part of the event’s crowd management plan and those responsible for managing security and marshalling etc.should be consulted.

  • Appropriate queuing systems should be deployed to manage social distancing at ingress points.
  • Outside queues should be managed to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or create additional security or safety risks.This can be done, for example, by introducing queuing systems; staff directing attendees; and protecting queues from traffic by routing them behind permanent physical structures such as street furniture, bike racks, bollards or putting up barriers.
  • Advance ticketing should be encouraged to minimise queuing on site.
  • Where possible, ticket holders should be given staggered arrival times.
  • Those purchasing tickets at box offices should be encouraged to pay by card, contactless if possible.If cash is exchanged, hand washing facilities should be provided in these areas.
  • On arrival, those checking tickets should ask attendees if they – or any member of their family – are suffering symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • People with symptoms of COVID-19, or who have been advised to self-isolate following contact with someone with symptoms of COVID-19 should be refused entry and asked to return home.
  • It is recommended to have an isolation/quarantine area near entrances where those refused entry can be taken until they can safely leave the site.
  • Tickets should, if possible, be designed for electronic scanning to avoid the need for those checking to need to touch tickets.
  • All reasonable effort should be made to maintain social distancing between staff and attendees at entrances.This should include requiring attendees to fit their own wrist bands etc.rather than this being done by members of staff.
  • Where wrist bands are used, they should be passed to one member of the group arriving to minimise contact.
  • Consideration should be given to providing advice on what people should do if they are unwell.This could be done by sending an advance email or printing on tickets etc.
  • In their pre-event communication, organisers should encourage attendees to bring the minimum of personal effects to the event in order to reduce bag search requirements.
  • It is suggested that attendees are asked to empty bags into trays to minimise the contact points for those carrying out checks.
  • Hand washing and sanitiser stations should be available, and clearly signposted, around the event ingress and egress points but in locations that do not cause bottlenecks at entrances.
  • To avoid crowding, particularly around pinch points, at the conclusion of an event, organisers should consider the best way to manage exits given the structure and layout of the site.
  • Extra stewarding/marshalling may be needed at key pinch points and care should be taken to remove any barriers at exits that might cause crowding. 

Emergency Egress

Every event should have an evacuation plan in case an emergency arises which requires workers and attendees to be moved away from an area or from the site altogether.This should be undertaken in consultation with those responsible for managing security and marshalling.

  • Consideration needs to be given to evacuating attendees in case of emergency in such a way as to maintain social distancing, where possible.
  • Consideration might be given to multiple exit points and providing spaces where crowds can gather with space for social distancing.
  • Sufficient trained security/marshalling staff need to be available at exit points to manage the exiting crowd.
  • Planning for emergency egress should be undertaken as part of the event risk assessment and in full consultation with those responsible for crowd management.
  • The priority should be given to maintaining public safety.

Community Assurance

Organisers should be aware that local communities are wary of visitors and the risks they perceive they pose to bringing infection into the area.

Organisers should work to reassure communities of the steps they are taking to keep everyone safe. 

Appendix 1: Considerations for events involving animals and show rings

While events, such as agricultural shows come under the banner of outdoor events, some of the regulations covering them may involve regulation from other sectors of industry.   This is very much the case in terms of agricultural shows, for example.

DEFRA Animal health licensing and regulations:    Organisers should consider how these requirements can be managed to maintain social distancing and the safety of those involved in handling animals.   Due to the biosecurity regulations for animal areas, disinfectant and hand washing points are already enhanced and the use of hand sanitizer in these areas is prohibited.

Ring Events and similar areas:    Consideration needs to be given to managing crowds gathering around rings where livestock are on show and displays take place.   It will be important to provide guidance on social distancing in these areas.   This may involve marking out spectator viewing points and creating tiered viewing points to help people see from further back.   Access to viewing points to maintain distancing needs to be considered.    It may be that some of these events will not be able to take place while social distancing is in place.

Small Animal Shows etc.:   A feature of many shows are the small animal marquees where visitors can walk round and see the animals that are being judged.   Social distancing rules need to be applied in these areas with clear signage directing people in one-way system around exhibits, much as they would follow signage in a supermarket.  The petting of the animals in these situations also needs to be assessed separately as it could provide a contact point for passing on the virus. 

Horses and Stabling:  All reasonable precautions need to be taken to avoid cross contamination where stables and other areas are used by more than one person.  

Non-cleanable surfaces:  Some materials used at events involving livestock, such as wood, are not disinfectable.   The erection of these areas should be managed to minimise cross-contact between workers and consideration should be given to using other materials at points (such as gates) that are likely to be touched by workers or the public.   Covering these areas with a disinfectable material might be considered.  See PHE guidance.

For green field events: 

See the following:

Appendix 2: Where to obtain further guidance

The following are links for further COVID and associated guidances that may help event organisers in planning events:

Appendix 3: Definitions

Common Areas

The term ‘common area’ refers to areas and amenities which are provided for the common use of more than one person including canteens, reception areas, meeting rooms, areas of worship, toilets, gardens, fire escapes, kitchens, fitness facilities, storerooms, laundry facilities.

Clinically extremely vulnerable

Clinically extremely vulnerable people will have received a letter telling them they are in this group, or they will have been told by their GP.Guidance on who is in this group can be found at:

●      COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable

Clinically vulnerable people

Clinically vulnerable people include those aged 70 or over and those with some underlying health conditions, all members of this group are listed in the ‘clinically vulnerable’ section at:

●      Staying alert and safe (social distancing)

Support Bubble

Definition of ‘Support Bubble’: ‘The term ‘support bubble’ refers to single adult households, where adults live alone or with dependent children only, expanding their support network so that it includes one other household of any size.Further guidance on this can be found at:

●      Meeting people from outside your household


Appendix 4:  Local Authority Guide for Assessing Applications for Large Outdoor Events

Assessing applications for organised outdoor events

When outdoor events organised by businesses, charitable organisations, and public bodies can take place (in accordance with capacity limits and any other conditions in place) events can be permitted, provided:

  1. Event organisers follow all relevant Covid-19 Secure guidance - depending on the type of event, this could include (for example) outdoor eventsfunfairs,  performing arts or elite sport events.
  1. Organisers and attendees adhere to all legal requirements, including only allowing customers to attend in adherence with legal gathering limits and social distancing guidelines, and mandating the use of face coverings in indoor areas. 
  1. The event does not pose a risk to public health.

Local authorities are responsible for permitting or prohibiting organised outdoor events from taking place in their local area.Decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to both the risks and the mitigations in place.

Organisers of permitted events should be able to control the flow and dispersal across the event site of customers within their permitted groups - and should put mitigations in place such as staggered arrival and departure times - to ensure that large numbers of people do not congregate in any one area of the site. 

Local authorities should consider convening a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) where appropriate in order to bring together representatives from the local authority, emergency services and other relevant bodies.The local Director of Public Health ( DPH) should also be invited to the SAG.If a SAG is not convened, or if the DPH is otherwise engaged, local authorities should engage the DPH at the earliest opportunity.Local Authorities should also work closely with Local Transport Authorities to develop a clear plan to reduce pressure on the local transport network arising from events in the area.

Local authorities/Safety Advisory Groups should provide advice to businesses on how to manage events of this type if required.

Factors to consider

In deciding whether an event should be permitted, local authorities should consider factors such as:

  • Has the event organiser carried out a comprehensive risk assessment?
  • Has the event organiser taken into account the relevant COVID-secure guidance?
  • Can/will all mitigations be operated effectively?
  • What will be the impact on the local area? Has the event organiser engaged appropriately with neighbouring businesses and transport operators to assess and mitigate risks arising from pressure on local and public transport?
  • What will be the risk to local population health, taking into account prevailing trends in the prevalence of COVID-19?
  • Will attendees be primarily local, or will there be additional risk factors created by attracting a national or international audience for the event?

Through conversations with the event organiser and a review of their Risk Assessment, are you satisfied that the event organiser has in place reasonable mitigations to:

  • Ensure social distancing between customers, performers and staff?
  • Ensure that customers attend within legal gathering limits (unless an exemption applies) and that groups can be kept separate within the event?
  • Ensure cleanliness in all areas?
  • Robustly log customer data for the purposes of NHS Test and Trace?

Organised outdoor events should be permitted unless they pose a threat to public health, provided that they follow relevant guidance and adhere to all legal requirements.If local authorities are concerned about an event, they should discuss those concerns with the event organiser at the earliest possible opportunity, and should consider whether any mitigations could be put in place to alleviate risks, such as:

  • Reducing the number of attendees to allow full social distancing and minimise any burden on local transport systems.
  • Staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas.
  • Arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues.
  • Advising patrons to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue.

Where an event poses a risk to public health, or in the event of a local spike in COVID-19 cases, local authorities can consider prohibiting, restricting or imposing requirements in respect of venues, events or outdoor public places using the powers available in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020 if the event, venue or gathering in an outdoor public place poses a serious and imminent threat to public health.Any such decision must be both necessary and proportionate.If an event organiser, the owner or occupier of the premises on which the event is held or any other person involved in hosting the event goes against such a direction, they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice by a police officer, police community support officer or an individual designated by the local authority. 

If, by attending a particular event or gathering, an individual is contravening the regulations that have been put in place to control the spread of COVID-19, police officers, PCSOs and other relevant individuals designated by the local authority or Secretary of State have the power under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.2) Regulations 2020 to direct individuals to leave a location or remove them from that location.This can have the overall effect of shutting down the event if all attendees are dispersed.Individuals deemed to be attending an illegal gathering can be issued with a fixed penalty notice, and organisers of an illegal event with more than 30 attendees could potentially be issued with a £10,000 fine.Event organisers could also be issued with fines if they have contravened other business-related regulations such as those set out in regulation 4 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.2) Regulations 2020: these fines would be primarily issued by local authority enforcement officers, but can also be issued by police officers, PCSOs or an individual designated by the local authority or Secretary of State.

If appropriate, the government has powers under Schedule 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 to close venues hosting large gatherings or prohibit certain events (or types of event) from taking place, and a power under regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) Regulations 2020 to restrict access to a public place.


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