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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. *

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