Organising Small/Medium Sized Events

Event organisers are responsible for checking the current Government guidance at regular intervals to ensure that they are up to date with any changes to Covid legal requirements and related guidance. 

Outdoor and Indoors Events 

Outdoor and indoor events organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can now go ahead as long as they can operate in a COVID secure manner that protects visitors/audiences and the staff. If the style of the event makes social distancing difficult then the event shouldn’t go ahead at this step of the Government’s Roadmap.

For both indoor and outdoor events capacity limits apply:

•    Indoor events are capped to 1,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower 
•    Outdoor events are capped to 4,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower

Staff, workers and volunteers are not included in these audience/visitor capacities.

When organising and putting on the event, organisers need to follow and include these measures:

  • Firstly organisers should complete a related Risk Assessment with health and safety risks along with COVID related risks, please refer to the related guidance provided by the Health and Safety Executive
  • Businesses and venues are legally required to display the NHS Track & Trace QR code so visitors/audience members can check in on arrival at the event. But organisers should also      implement a system to record and safely store customer details those who do not have the NHS app for 21 days after the event. We suggest you position the QR code in an area that is easily accessible to customers/audience members without causing a build-up of queues, it may be worth putting the QR code up in multiple places throughout the venue
  • Ensure those that attend do not mix beyond the social contact limits, visitors/audience members must stay in groups of six people or two households indoors and in a group of up to 30 outdoors
  • Increase cleaning of any contact surfaces throughout the venue; PDQ machines, door handles, surfaces at catering counters (bar) and common touch points in the toilets
  • For theatre, cinema, concert hall or sports ground events audiences can buy drinks, including alcoholic drinks, and snacks at the bar to enjoy in their seats. More hospitality guidance
  • Ensure tables which visitors or audiences are sat at are spaced two metres apart
  • Outdoor events which use marquees or gazebos must ensure the sides are at least 50% open to comply with Government guidance
  • Customers are legally required to wear face coverings, when entering and moving around the venue, unless they are exempt for a health reason. Staff should also wear face coverings unless they too are exempt
  • Manage social distancing by encouraging visitors/audiences to socially distance from each other through the use of signage and implement a one way system through the building in order to manager the flow of pedestrians
  • Stagger arrival times to the event in order to prevent unnecessary queues building up at the entrance
  • Have hand sanitiser available at strategic points throughout the venue; entrance to building, outside toilets, at hospitality counters etc
  • If a visitors/audience member or member of staff begins to display symptoms of COVID, ask them to leave or deny entry and ask them to isolate accordingly
  • At all pay points encourage contactless payments and e-tickets that can be shown on visitor/audience member’s phones

Outside Play Areas 

If your business involves the operation of an outside play area, you must ensure you refer and adhere to the Government guidance on COVID-19 safe operating procedures for a play area.

Indoor Socialising

You can socialise indoors with up to six people or two households. Please follow these suggested measures:

  • Open all available windows and doors to allow for sufficient ventilation 
  • Seeing as Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap asks the public to be responsible for their own safety and be cautious when socialising, it is down to the visitor/audience member to decide how they socialise within their group of six or two households. But they must comply with the venues rules when using their services or moving around the event
  • Face masks are legally required when inside public venues unless an individual is exempt for a health reason  


If you have any concerns with regard to the possible licensing requirements for your proposed event please contact

Event Safety Management Plans and Risk Assessments

As the event organiser must prepare an Event Safety Management Plan and COVID-19 risk assessment as part of planning your event, and then implement and manage it for the duration of your event.

When compiling your Event Safety Management Plan, it is recommended that reference be made to the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance - ‘Managing crowds safely - A guide for organisers at events and venues which advises basing such Plans on the Purple Guide, written by the Events Industry Forum in consultation with the events industry. 

A summary of the information contained within the Purple Guide to assist on planning events and the content of an Event Management Plan is helpfully provided by Conwy Council.

COVID-19 advice for event organisers, and a COVID-19 check-list have been provided by Surrey County Council.

If you are an event organiser and have no employees, the duty to document an Event Safety Management Plan, associated checklists and/or health and safety risk assessments does not apply, but in the absence of such documents, it is considered difficult to demonstrate ‘due diligence’ in the event of an incident or accident occurring and to show that all reasonably practicable measures have been taken to prevent and/or reduce the risk of it occurring. 

Additional Considerations in Planning an Event 

If your event is planned to be held at a site that is owned and/or managed by a third party, it is important to ensure that your Event Safety Management Plan and risk assessments integrate with those of the site. 

The Public Liability insurance policy covering the event should include reference to COVID-19, as under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, employers and/or duty holders are required to report cases of, or deaths from, COVID-19 from occupational exposure, that is, as a result of a person's work.

Temporary Demountable Structures 

If the use of marquees and/or other temporary demountable structures is to form part of your proposed event, this should be included in the related event documentation i.e. Event Safety Management Plan and risk assessment As mentioned above any outdoor structure, including marquees and similar temporary demountable structures, must be a least 50% open to the air. Care should be exercised when planning to erect such outdoor structures to ensure they are safe and fit for the purpose intended.

Please be aware that case law exists that a marquee, if left up permanently, constitutes a “structure” and so may need Planning Permission if retained for the longer term. It is also important to consider your neighbouring properties when siting the marquee or similar structure to keep any disturbance, either visual or noise to a minimum.   

Future dates and forward planning - a precautionary warning 

We are all hopeful the dates will not move, and that by the 21 June, most restrictions will have been lifted, but there is no guarantee this will be the case.

Therefore, we advise all businesses to be cautious before committing to future events, particularly if this includes ticketed events or where there is a financial commitment. If one date is delayed, this will delay all dates and you, as the event organiser will be solely liable for all financial and other liabilities incurred arising from the suspension and/or cancellation of your proposed event, due to an increase in the COVID-19 infection. 

If you require any further advice or guidance on Food Safety, Licensing, Health and Safety or COVID-19 restrictions please contact