The latest announcement from Boris Johnson suggests that most restrictions on events such as trade shows in England could be lifted by 21st June.
The prime minister detailed the potential lifting of restrictions in four distinct stages this week, with ‘larger events’ scheduled to be permitted in Stage 4, no earlier than 21st June. However, some events may be permitted to go ahead with restricted capacities, with up to 1,000 people or 50% capacity permitted, from 17th May. Further pilot events will also be run from this time, with testing in place.
Chris Skeith, CEO of the UK’s Association of Event Organisers, reacted by saying: “The inclusion of events in the latter stages of the reopening roadmap is a welcome development and we are confident that we will be able to further demonstrate our ability to deliver Covid-secure exhibitions in the pilot the government has announced.”
The prime minister has stressed that his roadmap out of lockdown is contingent on “data, not dates”. He has also hinted that testing could be needed in order for large events to take place, but did not specify any further details. Four government reviews that include specific certification will take place to more accurately plan for the wider reopening.
21st June is the provisional start date, but the government wil only give the go ahead seven days in advance subject to infection rates, making events scheduled close to this date still a risk for organisers and attendees to commit to. However, ahead of this date, the event industry will have the chance to take part in pilot events, to fine tune the best ways to run trade shows safely.
“We will pilot larger events using enhanced testing with the ambition of the further easing of restrictions in the next step,” said Boris Johnson. “Step four will begin no earlier than the 21st June. With appropriate mitigations, we will aim to remove all legal limits on social contact, on weddings and on other live events. We will open everything up to and including nightclubs and enable large events beyond the limits in Step 3.”
From 17th May, indoor events for up to 1,000 people, or 50% capacity, will be permitted, with up to 4,000 permitted at outdoor events. Up to 10,000 may be permitted in seated outdoor environments, such as stadiums.
Chris Skeith added: “In his Budget next week Rishi Sunak must provide targeted support for the exhibitions sector to save it from total collapse. Exhibitions businesses need support for as long as restrictions are in place, a clear roadmap to reopen, and a government-backed insurance scheme, otherwise devastating job losses and business failures are coming.”
The prime minister has promised that details of extended business support measures would be announced by the chancellor in his Budget, due on 3rd March.
The organisers of trade shows are once more reassessing their options and taking decisions regarding individual events going forwards. Toy World will bring the industry the latest on forthcoming toy trade shows as soon as we are able, and the Toy Fair page on our website will be regularly updated as event information is confirmed.