Business events, conferences and events centres will be given the go ahead to reopen on 1 October adhering to social distancing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.
Provided levels of infection remain at current rates, this will see the return of the sector worth approximately £32.6 billion to the UK each year.
The sector represented a quarter of the 38 million international visits to the UK in 2018 and provides a welcome boost to visitor numbers during the off peak tourist season.
Following the announcement today, a number of pilots will take place at event venues across the country to plan for a return to large-scale events and test how best to implement social distancing practises. Details of these pilots will be finalised in partnership with the sector in the coming weeks.
New guidance ('Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - the visitor economy'), published by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport and the Association of Event Organisers today, will help event organisers, venue operators and participants in the UK understand how they can work and host business events and conferences and keep both their guests and staff safe.
Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said:
“Business events and conferences are a key part of our visitor economy and this is an important step in getting them back up and running safely.
“Pilots will help inform our plans for the return of the sector in October with guests and staff adhering to social distancing and measures introduced to reduce close contact.
“The UK has a great reputation in staging fantastic events that help drive growth for many different sectors and this will give the business event sector the certainty it needs to plan for the future.”
The guidance makes clear that the following measures should be considered to allow for safe resumption of business events and conferences:
This guidance will be for organisations in England. Organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should adhere to the advice of the devolved administrations at all times.