What you need to know about events from 19 July
Government guidance for event organsiers and venues in England has been updated and as expected places focuses on risk assessment.
England moves to Step 4 on 19 July.
The guidance, which can be read in full here, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19/events-and-attractions#eventplanning lays out key areas in which organisers and venues should consider to manage the spread of Covid-19.
Here is your guide to the key areas which all organisers and venues should be aware of.
Track and trace
Venues are no longer required to collect customer contact details, or keep a record of staff and visitors, but they are encouraged to continue to display an NHS QR code for customers wishing to check in using the app. Venues (or organisers) do not have to ask customers to check in or turn them away if they refuse.
If a venue displays an NHS QR code, it should also have a system to collect and securely store names and contact details, for those who ask to check in but who do not have access to a smartphone or who prefer not to use the app.
There is no legal mandate to use the NHS app as proof of Covid-19 vaccination, negative test or proof of natural anti-bodies, but the Government has said it will release further guidance relating to the app shortly.
However, the guidance says the Government will “work with organisations that operate large, crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of the NHS Covid Pass,” which is part of the app.
Cleaning and hygiene
An organiser hiring a venue for an event should discuss ventilation and cleaning with the venue operator, to check their risk management protocols. The organiser should agree with the venue in advance any additional measures needed to manage risk, such as opening windows to increase ventilation.
Face coverings are no longer required by law, but the government expects and recommends that people should continue to wear them in crowded and enclosed settings.
Social distancing rules will cease to exist from 19 July, but organisers and venues should consider floor markings and crowd management methods to prevent overcrowding and bottlenecks at certain points.
What to do if someone presents Covid-19 symptoms
The guidance states that if an attendee presents symptoms, or the organiser or venue becomes aware of a case of suspected or confirmed case on-site, they should not be admitted or should be asked to leave the facility or event, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment. The customer should be advised to self-isolate in line with NHS guidelines and to take a PCR test.
Where possible, the customer should be assessed on-site (by a medical professional, if there is provision). Unless they are in need of urgent medical attention and need to be transported to hospital for treatment, they should be encouraged to take a supervised lateral flow test. Any customer returning a positive result from a lateral flow test must be required to leave the facility or event. They should be advised to self-isolate in line with NHS guidelines and to take a PCR test, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment.
Where medical and testing facilities are not available on-site, event organisers should use their own discretion in managing instances where an attendee presents on site with Covid-19 symptoms, but this could include refusing entry, particularly where the event’s terms and conditions specify this.
Websites, social media channels and any digital or written engagement should include up-to-date information on any attendee obligations or requirements in relation to Covid-19.
Onsite signage and audio messaging should provide up-to-date information on any attendee obligations or requirements. Staff and volunteers should be made aware of any attendee obligations or requirements and be able to provide guidance and respond to queries.
All information should be made available to people with other access requirements, including those with visual and hearing impairments.
Local authorities and transport
Local authorities have an important role in ensuring that events are able to go ahead as safely as possible in their area. They work with the Health and Safety Executive to ensure that businesses operate safely. They also have powers to prohibit or restrict an event, where there is a serious and imminent threat to public health posed by Covid-19.
However, these powers can only be used where it is necessary in public health terms, and any prohibitions, requirements or conditions imposed by the direction are proportionate to the risk.
Event organisers of larger events are strongly encouraged to factor early engagement with the relevant local authority into the event planning process to ensure any issues can be identified and resolved without delay.
Organisers of large events are also asked to contact local transport providers.
When can a Local Authority shut down an event?
Local authorities can prohibit or restrict venues or events using the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020.
These decisions on events should be made on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to the guidance issued by the Government. Any direction issued under the No. 3 Regulations must be notified to the Government, which will consider whether its issue was appropriate. Government has the power, in appropriate circumstances, to direct a local authority to revoke a direction.
Any direction issued must meet the three legal conditions:
It is responding to a serious and imminent threat to public health
It is necessary to prevent, protect against, control or provide a public health response in relation to the incidence or spread of Covid-19
The measures taken are a proportionate way to achieve that purpose.
Local authorities should not issue blanket bans on events. Where there are concerns about the safety of an event, they should engage with the event organiser to resolve any issues at the earliest opportunity.
Local authorities must consider any advice from their director of Public Health before issuing a direction, and need to review each direction at least once every seven days.
If an event organiser, the owner or occupier of the premises where 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 other designated person.
Risk assessment template
Event organisers and venues can download a copy of the Government’s risk assessment template here. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002106/Risk_management_template_-_blank.pdf