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Business events remain banned, with groups of over 30 illegal

Gatherings of more than 30 people are to be made illegal, according to the updated guidance issued by the UK Government, 24 June.

After the announcement that conference and exhibition venues are to remain closed, the government guidance has listed in more detail what the public can and can’t do, which includes not gathering in groups of more than 30.

At the same time, the Government has released the Meeting Industry Association’s (mia) official guidance for conference and meetings venues.

However, the government website says that business conferences, events, exhibitions and trade fairs are not currently allowed to take place in England.

It reads: “Organisers of such events may want to consider the following areas of preparation, ahead of any future reopening.

“The Meetings Industry Association has produced guidance specifically for conferences and meetings venues, which is also wrapped into the wider UKHospitality guidance.”

The Association of Event Organisers will publish guidance specifically for exhibition, trade fairs and consumer shows. This guidance is receiving final adjustments before being made public.

On workplace environments and catering, the Government website adds: “You [venues] should consider the relevant sections of workplace guidance as well as relevant guidance on pubs and restaurants and the UKHospitality guidance for catering requirements.”

It also notes that outdoor events (including agriculture shows and festivals) are covered by events guidance.

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the Meetings Industry Association, vented her frustration at the Government’s lack of clarity: “We were extremely disappointed that yesterday’s announcement did not provide any clarity for our sector. Without a start date, the social distancing reduction to one metre is totally irrelevant and has a potentially devastating impact on our industry that currently provides over 700,000 jobs to a diverse and highly skilled UK-based workforce. 

“Continuing to work in collaboration with the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP), the mia will be pushing Government to provide clear guidance on when business conferences, events, exhibitions and trade fairs will be allowed to take place.”

However, Longhurst hinted that a further announcement is planned for mid-July. She added: “We understand that a further announcement is due to be made in mid-July but we will be continuing our persistent campaigning and communication with the Government urging for a clear steer on reopening as we’re aware that venues are already making difficult long-term decisions on their future business models and workforce, based on yesterday’s statement.”

The Meetings Industry Association has published its roadmap and guidance, which you can read here.