News story

Government Update: Guidance for Events

Apr 15, 2021 12:03:45 PM

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published some new guidance on Events for both organisers and Local Authorities. The full information can be seen on the government website but we have listed the key points below.

 From April 12th 2021 (Step 2)

Outdoor events like agricultural shows, fairs/fetes, car boot shows and food & drink festivals can all take place. Providing there is good size space for crowd dispersal and attendees are expected to arrive and leave the event in a staggered manner throughout the day so that there is no overcrowding at the venue or public transport. The rule of six or two households applies to all events, and events are not allowed to have attendees congregating on site for a performance or activity, such as a music performance.

There is no formal cap on attendees but the government to expect events to have fewer than 4,000 attendees per day.

 From 17th May 2021 (Step 3)

In addition to the above events, indoor events and all remaining outdoor events can start subject to meeting Covid-secure requirements including social distancing. These include conferences, exhibitions and tradeshows, and private dining events such as gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality.

Event organisers will need to adhere guidance at all times which include following the relevant COVID-secure guidance, limit the risk of transmission, completing a risk assessment, and adhere to all legal requirements, including ensuring that those attending an event do not mix beyond what is permitted by social contact limits. These limits for permitted organised gatherings will be: Indoors – rule of 6 or two households and 30-person groups outdoors.

All events will have capacity caps;

  1. 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower at indoor events
  2. 4,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower at outdoor events


For those events subject to capacity caps, it should be noted that the caps refer to the event attendees only, so staff, contractors and operational team required to run the event are not included in this total. Catering and hospitality is permitted in groups and with table service.


Note: there are some evets that still cannto take place where it is unlikely that social distancing between groups of attendees can be maintained, or if other COVID-secure requirements cannot be met.

 From 21st June 2021 (Step 4)

 With appropriate mitigations in place, the government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact and enable all events above the Step 3 capacity restrictions to go ahead. This will be strictly subject to the government review of the latest available data on the impact of the previous step against four tests and the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme, potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection, subject to further evaluation.

 Local authority decision-making

Local authorities can allow or prohibit organised events from taking place in their local area, but decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis so blanket bans are not allowed. The risks should be weighed against the economic and social benefits that events offer.

Organisers will need to prove to the local authority that they;

  • Haver carried out a comprehensive risk assessment and taken into account the relevant COVID-secure guidance
  • ensure social distancing between customers, performers or exhibitors, and staff
  • ensure that customers attend in groups of up to 6 people from different households, or a group of two households (unless an exemption applies) and that groups can be kept separate within the event
  • ensure cleanliness in all areas with a focus on touch points and key areas and drawing up cleaning schedules in advance
  • robustly log customer data for the purposes of NHS Test and Trace
  • ensure they communicate how customers can travel safely to venues in advance of the event, according to the safer travel guidance


If Local Authroties should have 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
  • wearing a face covering unless exempt
  • social distancing where possible


Information taken from Coronavirus (COVID-19): Organised events guidance for local authorities

Published 6 April 2021. For full details please see;


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