October restart for conferences/exhibitions in England

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that conferences and exhibitions will be permitted in England from 1 October 2020.

The announcement means that it's full steam ahead for the Esports Venue Summit at Twickenham Stadium in October.

The prime minister said the decision would depend on data and that Local Authorities would have powers to close events if there was a danger to the public. The prime minister noted that there would be pilot events ahead of the reopening. The prime minister said:

"From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadia and to allow conferences and other business events to recommence – again, these changes must be done in a Covid Secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots."

Simon Hughes, chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership expressed his delight. He said:

"After several months of lobbying, and providing significant amounts of evidence and research to government, and working closely in partnership with our colleagues at DCMS, we are delighted that today the prime minister has finally announced a Go Date of 1 October  for the recommencement of business events and exhibitions, subject to the successful completion of some pilot events.

"While this news will come as a great relief to the entire events industry, we are still conscious that the sector will require significant support going forward, as it looks to rebuild and renew, and we will continue to engage with government to look at practical ways to ensure that our world class industry continues to thrive and support the UK’s overall recovery over the years to come."

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of The Meetings Industry Association added:

"The impact of Covid-19 on the business meetings and events sector has been devastating so we are delighted with today’s announcement that we now have a timeframe to work to and recommence. Its positive proof that the Government has been listening to the sector and understands that we can open safely.

"We are currently awaiting the detail of the pilot events, but we do know they are to offer Public Health England the chance to test the industry’s ability to hold major events with large numbers of people.

"To ensure that we reopen and operate in a Covid-Secure way, it will be imperative that the sector follows the guidance when it is issued by Government as well as the mia’s Roadmap to reopening and operating safely. And, as further proof of the fact that venues are COVID-Secure, we would suggest that venues add AIM Secure into their planning."