Business events and conferences may not be given the go ahead for 1st October
In a devastating blow to the events industry, Boris Johnson has announced a review into the October 1st restart date for all business events and conferences. During initial reviews into the COVID-19 guidelines, the government set a provisional date of October 1st when all business conferences and events would be allowed to take place again, with social distancing measures in place.
However, due to a recent increase in active cases and changes in restrictions, this date is coming under review and may be pushed back. This is difficult news for companies like The Speakers Agency that rely on these kinds of events for income. So far, the Prime Minister has not given any clarity about the issue, saying that the date of October 1st may not be scrapped completely.
This announcement comes after new rules about social gatherings were brought into force on Monday September 14th, banning groups of more than six people meeting together. Police will have the power to fine anybody that is found to be breaking these regulations. It is hoped that this will bring the infection rate down so that business events are still given the green light on October 1st.
Business events and conferences are particularly important in the wake of this crisis as business owners look for ways to navigate the new economic climate. Business events firms are eagerly awaiting a statement from the culture secretary to clarify whether meetings of 30 people in permitted venues will be allowed to take place or not.
Much of this decision hinges on whether the government’s efforts to implement mass testing will be successful or not. The government aims to start testing 500,000 people per day, so those that test negative will be able to live with fewer restrictions and large scale events will be allowed to go ahead. There are plans to test people before they enter event spaces to ensure that the spread of coronavirus is contained and large events do not lead to a local spike in cases.
Unfortunately, many people are not hopeful about this due to the government’s track record on testing. There are still many issues with the testing system and the track and trace system that is designed to manage the spread of the virus. The government has repeatedly missed their testing targets in previous months so confidence in their new system is low.
At the minute, anybody that is planning a business event or conference is in limbo as the government has not yet offered any clarity about the impact of rising cases on events. They have not ruled out the provisional date of October 1st yet but they have announced that it is under review and may potentially change. The culture secretary is set to make an announcement soon to offer more concrete dates but this will all depend on the impact of the latest social gathering restrictions and the effectiveness of the new testing system. Until then, business events remain cancelled and gatherings of more than six people remain illegal.