Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice for event organisation

We recognise the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic for anyone looking to organise an event.

The Prime Minister has announced the “Living with Covid-19” which sets out the changes in the Covid legislation over the next few months and how the Government intends to protect and support citizens.  COVID-19 Response: Living with COVID-19 (GOV.UK website)

Whilst our local Covid-19 infection rate is decreasing, it remains high and local vaccination rates are still lower than average in some areas, so we need to continue with some of the Covid-19 measures we introduced to support our events to run safely.

It is our intention to support events to go ahead as much as possible, however there may be a need on occasions to cancel an event in the interests of public safety.

Event organisers are encouraged to talk to your district council as soon as possible to discuss plans for outdoor events and how they can be managed safely.

We can then advise on safe working practices, support events to comply with relevant requirements and help address any concerns early on and advise on any local restrictions.

The responsibility and liability for all events legally lies and remains with the event organiser.

In planning an event, an Event Management Plan must be produced with a robust risk assessment. The goal is to move towards managing COVID-19 in line with other respiratory viral illnesses and promote behaviours that can reduce the transmission of such viruses. This will both support ongoing COVID-19 management, and reduce the risk of surges of other respiratory viral infections and the subsequent impacts on the health and care system, local economy, and the wider community.

Whilst we wait for further Government guidance on “working safely” due by April, more information can be found on Events and attractions - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Guidance on the GOV.UK website.)

You will also need to take into account the advice of the Safety Advisory Group that exists in Cambridgeshire, along with normal licensing or any other requirements to host an event.

What to think about

  • Your event may have happened before, but what needs to change now?
  • What is the purpose of your event? Can it achieve this if certain restrictions are in place?
  • Who is the event for and is there a current demand for it?
  • Where can you remove or reduce the risk of close physical contact between attendees, participants or staff?
  • Does the event need a live audience? Could it happen behind closed doors (the performance or activity happens live which is then broadcast)?
  • Could the event be live in small, localised formats linked into a larger whole digitally?
  • What and where is the venue - indoor/outdoor; how will people travel; what is the capacity with social distancing measures in place?
  • What is your audience profile and how does it impact your planning?
  • Do you have appropriate and legally competent workers and Health and Safety Officers, who can ensure the current guidance is being applied in the event planning?
  • How flexible is the event plan to adapt to changing COVID-19 guidance - either in the lead up to, during, or de-rigging of the event.

Planning considerations

If you need to speak to someone once you have read the information on this page, please make contact with your district council.

Protect staff and customers from Covid -19 by

  • Continue to promote the wearing of face coverings in indoor and/or crowded places where people may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.
  • Ensure good hand hygiene through hand washing and provision of hand sanitisers
  • Continue frequent, cleaning of high hand-touch surfaces at the venue including communal areas and any shared equipment such as microphones
  • Assessing the level of ventilation in indoor spaces, per the HSE guidance, and include that in your risk assessment, and increase the level of ventilation if required
  • If any attendee shows symptoms of Covid, they should not attend.

Event attendees and staff should be encouraged to complete rapid testing twice in the week before the event with the last test being completed within 48 hours before the event. Following the event, twice weekly tests should be completed. We encourage attendees and staff to continue testing on an ongoing basis.

Rapid lateral flow testing is now available free to anybody without symptoms.

As an event organiser, please do the following:

  1. Promote testing - encourage people (including staff) to order or collect home test kits, or attend a test site via Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid community testing - Cambridgeshire County Council, on tickets, your website, social media and during the event. You can use some of our posters too.
  2. Support attendees to not attend if they test positive - for example, if the event is repeated, consider offering a place to positive cases who can no longer attend the original event.
  3. Encourage attendees to download the NHS Test and Trace app from the NHS website - ask people to check in when they arrive at your venue.

You are no longer legally required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. We still recommend that you stay at home and avoid close contact with other people for 5 days, if possible. You do not need to get a confirmatory PCR test.

Routine contact tracing has ended. It's no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate or conduct daily testing if you've been in close contact with someone who tests positive.

Event organisers should support staff and customers taking up the vaccine and boosters when they become eligible.

  • Have you conducted a robust risk assessment which encompasses all risks?
  • Does this take staff, participants and visitors into account?

  • What additional hygiene measures must be put in place across the whole site and what procedures do you have for maintaining them throughout the event?
  • Have you factored in a deep clean overnight for events of more than one day?
  • Are there sufficient supplies of PPE/medical equipment available?
  • What plans do you have for isolating suspected COVID-19 patients on site and have you considered your duty of care to them and others thereafter?

  • What is the latest social distancing advice - protocols and practices?
  • How does this impact on your Crowd Management Plan (and the staff to maintain it)?
  • Have social distancing measures been applied both inside and outside your event, including measures in place to protect staff?
  • Are there separate entrances and exits?
  • How are you planning to marshal all queues (entry and on site)?
  • How will social distancing measures work where close contact is needed, for example first aid or ejections from site?

  • Have the provision and management of facilities (e.g. toilets, cloakrooms, green rooms, changing areas etc.) had COVID-19 risks considered (hygiene, social distancing etc.)?
  • Do you need more staff to implement this? What measures are in place to protect them?

  • Have all COVID-19 risk mitigations and new protocols for the handling and serving of food and beverages been incorporated into your event planning?
  • Have you considered varying the food offer to minimise queueing, such as meal deals, hampers, one-stop shop provision?
  • How will people buy the food, such as queueing at food stalls/safe waiter service etc.?

  • Will artists want to perform under current conditions?
  • Would they have to travel and if so, have these challenges been considered?
  • What happens if your participants, artists, athletes come from international areas where COVID-19 restrictions change at short notice or a travel ban is re-imposed nationally or internationally?
  • Have you considered any visa implications, obligatory testing, or quarantine requirements?

  • With all the disruption that the pandemic has caused, are community groups, schools and/or sports teams able to get involved in the event?

  • Have staff, volunteers and participants at your event been trained in their role in minimising the spread of COVID-19?

  • Will visitors need to use public transport to get to the event or can they cycle, walk or drive?
  • Capacity on public transport may be reduced. People's willingness to use public transport may also be impacted. Have these considerations been factored into your planning?
  • If people choose to drive - what impact will this have on congestion on local roads and parking facilities?

  • What is the public demand for the event? Has this been assessed in the context of COVID-19 risks and mitigations being adopted?
  • What is the public sentiment - both audience and those living or working around your event? What reputational impact could this have?
  • What will the audience experience be, and how will this be impacted with mitigations such as social distancing, face masks, restricted access to facilities?
  • What considerations do you need to make for vulnerable groups?
  • Can you collate and safely maintain contact details of staff and visitors, if needed by any Track & Trace requirements?

  • Staff, participants and visitors may require overnight accommodation to take part in your event. Have any current restrictions been factored in?

  • Have you considered the messaging around your event and how they can be communicated at short notice? How will you do this for a non-ticketed/public free flow event where direct contact is not possible?
    • General information
    • COVID-19 specific messaging (ensuring any links you give to public information are up to date)
    • Cancellation timelines
    • Refund status and process (if applicable)

  • Do you have sufficient financial stability and cash flow to manage 'sunk costs' if the event is cancelled at short notice?
  • What are your contractual obligations with suppliers/venue/other and their payment? How does this impact your timeframe for decision-making and safe planning?
  • Will a reduced audience capacity, with increased operational costs, make your event financially viable?
  • Has all funding been confirmed - are all sponsors, partners and concessions still contributing?

  • Have you reviewed cancellation, and other, insurance as to how COVID-19 impacts this?