Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Events and attractions

Guidance for people who work in settings related to events and visitor attractions.

Applies to: England (see guidance for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland)

This guide was updated on 15 September 2021.

What’s changed

Minor updates to sections on face coverings and going to the workplace, in line with the government’s autumn and winter plan.

Priority actions

Six steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus (COVID-19).

  1. Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes risks from COVID-19. This should consider the points below in the rest of this guidance. It should also take into account any reasonable adjustments needed for staff and customers with disabilities. You should share your risk assessment with your staff. You can find more information in the section on risk assessments and HSE guidance. There is additional advice for event organisers in the section on event planning.

  2. Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms. Staff members or customers should self-isolate and take a PCR test if they have a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste. They must also self-isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19, live in a household with someone who has symptoms (unless they’re exempt from self-isolation), or have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. If you know that a worker is legally required to self-isolate, you must not allow them to come to work. It’s an offence to do this. You can find more information in the section on reducing risk to workers.

  3. Provide adequate ventilation. You should make sure there is a supply of fresh air to enclosed spaces where there are people present. This can be natural ventilation through windows, doors and vents, mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. You should identify any poorly ventilated spaces in your premises and consider steps you can take to improve fresh air flow in these areas. In some places, a CO2 monitor can help identify if the space is poorly ventilated. Heritage locations should take into account the preservation of the building or artefacts displayed. You can find more information in the on section on ventilation and the HSE guidance on ventilation and air conditioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  4. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are touched a lot. Heritage locations should ensure cleaning materials and schedules are appropriate for historic surfaces and materials. You should ask your staff and customers to use hand sanitiser and clean their hands frequently, and provide them with advice to promote good hygiene. You can find more information in the section on managing your facility or event setting.

  5. Enable people to check in at your venue. You are no longer legally required to collect contact details, however doing so will help to support NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus. You can enable people to check in by providing an NHS QR code poster, though you do not have to ask customers to check in or turn them away if they refuse. If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details for those who ask to check in but do not have the app. You can find more information in the section on reducing risk to customers.

  6. Communicate and train. Keep all your workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures.

These are the priority actions to make your business safer during coronavirus (COVID-19). You should also read the full version of the guidance below, and review the guidance for any additional facilities within your premises or event, including hospitality venues (such as cafes and bars), retail and consumer services (including shops and close contact services), offices and indoor worksites, construction and other outdoor work, and hotels and guest accommodation. You may also want to check with relevant organisations in your sector, who may have tailored advice for specific types of facility or business.

Introduction

In this section:

What this guidance covers

This document gives you guidance on how to open workplaces safely and organise events while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. It provides practical considerations on how to apply this in a workplace which provides visitor attractions (such as a theatre, historic building, theme park or conference centre) or when organising events (such as exhibitions, trade shows, live performances, festivals, street events and sporting events).

This guidance is informed by the findings of the Events Research Programme, which conducted research at pilot events (including sport, theatre, live music and business events) to establish how transmission risks can be reduced and managed. It includes advice for event organisers and local authorities on how to manage risks to ensure that events can take place safely. Local authorities continue to have the power to place public health restrictions on businesses in cases where there is a serious and imminent threat to public health posed by COVID-19. However, these powers can only be used where it is necessary in public health terms, and any prohibitions, requirements or conditions imposed by the Direction are proportionate to the risk.

This guidance supports your existing legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment and equality duties. This document contains non-statutory guidance that you should take into account when complying with these existing obligations, to ensure you are working safely by reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Remember this guidance does not just cover your workers. You must also take into account agency workers, contractors, volunteers and customers or users of your business or venue.

To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate assessment. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with unions or workers; you may also want to consult industry representatives.

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is aimed at business owners, operators and workers in the following areas.

Visitor attractions and recreational facilities

  • Indoor and outdoor attractions, such as arcades, guided tours, water parks and theme parks, family entertainment centres, funfairs and fairgrounds, visitor attractions at film studios, and animal attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife centres.
  • Leisure and recreation facilities, such as bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, laser quest, escape rooms, paintballing, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks), adventure parks and activities (such as ziplining), and trampolining centres.
  • Heritage attractions open to the public, such as a castle, historic house, historic park, garden or landscape, industrial heritage monument or open-air site including mobile heritage.
    • This includes nationally designated heritage assets such as nationally listed buildings (Grade I, II* or II), scheduled monuments, registered parks and gardens (Grade I, II* or II), cultural World Heritage Sites and registered battlefields.
    • It also covers all archaeological sites, as most archaeological fieldwork is carried out on non-designated archaeological sites. This also includes businesses and organisations which work in/on historic buildings or on sites with heritage significance (including work on historic marine sites such as licensees of Protected Wrecks), such as construction, fieldwork or conservation activity. These types of settings and businesses may also wish to review any relevant advice in the guidance for construction and outdoor work.
  • Sites or places open to the public that occupy a historic structure, site or landscape, such as a place of worship which happens to be a historic building.
  • Performing arts venues, such as theatres, concert halls, and dedicated music venues (which host music and other programming artists that perform in front of audiences).

Events

  • Indoor and outdoor events of any size, organised by businesses, charitable organisations, or public bodies. This includes business events (such as conferences, exhibitions, conventions, consumer/trade shows and other events and meetings), grassroots sport events, performing arts events (including theatre, music and other live performance events and festivals), and other events (including shows, fashion events, street events and fairs).
  • Elite sport competitions, where they are run as an event with spectators. If you are organising an elite sport event, you should ensure it operates in line with the guidance for elite sport which covers all other aspects of elite sport operations. You should also follow the relevant measures for events in this guidance, where you are organising an event with spectators, as well as maintaining your business-as-usual engagement with Safety Advisory Groups and other relevant partners.
  • Local authorities and other local partners, who work with event organisers to ensure that events can take place safely.

This guidance does not cover:

  • Hotels and other guest accommodation (such as self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, camping and caravan parks, hostels, holiday homes, boats and short-term lets), except where there are relevant events and activities taking place in that facility. For advice on everyday operations and running of hotels and guest accommodation, see the hotels and guest accommodation guidance.
  • Grassroots sport participation, provision and facilities - see the separate guidance for grassroots sport facilities.
  • Elite sport operations and management (including events without spectators) - see the separate guidance for elite sport.

  • Transport services as a visitor attraction or tourism activity , such as hire of boats and planes, and domestic cruises. You can find the advice on these services in the safer transport guidance for operators. Where these services are used for holiday accommodation (such as caravans, or holiday hire of boats), this is covered by the hotels and guest accommodation guidance.

  • Other types of heritage organisation, including those listed below. However some aspects of this guidance are likely to be relevant, and operators can follow these measures where it would help them to manage their locations safely.
    • Historic buildings that are solely private residences.
    • Museums which are in historic buildings should have reference both to this guidance and to the specific guidance for the museums sector issued by the National Museum Directors’ Council, and which has been prepared in line with guidance published by the government.
    • Sites designated locally such as conservation areas or buildings on local lists, and other heritage projects with comparable considerations including industrial, maritime and transport heritage assets.

Risk assessments

In this section:

How to do a risk assessment

As an employer, by law you must protect workers and others (including contractors, volunteers and customers/users) from risks to their health and safety. This includes risks from COVID-19. COVID-19 is a workplace hazard. You should manage it in the same way as other workplace hazards. This includes:

  • completing a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace
  • identifying control measures to manage that risk

Failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, and put in place control measures to manage the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace, may be considered a breach of health and safety law.

Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has tools to support you.

You should also consider the security implications of any decisions and control measures you intend to put in place. Any revisions could present new or altered security risks you may need to mitigate.

You do not have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment if you:

  • have fewer than 5 workers
  • are self-employed

However, you may still find it useful to do so.

Consult your workers

As an employer, you have a legal duty to consult workers on health and safety matters. You can do this by listening and talking to them about the work they do and how you will manage the risks from COVID-19.

You may do this by consulting with any recognised trade union health and safety representatives.

If you do not have any, you can consult with a representative chosen by workers. As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be.

Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues. If you cannot do this, see below for other steps you can take.

Raising concerns

If you’re an employee, you can contact:

  • your employee representative
  • your trade union if you have one

You can also contact HSE’s COVID-19 enquiries team:

  • online: working safely enquiry form
  • telephone: 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm)

Enforcement

Enforcing authorities identify employers who do not take action to comply with the relevant law and guidance to control public health risks. When they do, they can take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. The HSE and your local authority are examples of enforcing authorities.

When they identify serious breaches, enforcing authorities can do a number of things. These include:

  • sending you a letter.
  • serving you with an improvement or prohibition notice.
  • bringing a prosecution against you, in cases where they identify significant breaches.

If an enforcing authority issues you with any advice or notices, you should respond rapidly and within their timescales. Inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that employers are taking the necessary steps.

Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, local authorities continue to have the power to place public health restrictions on businesses in cases where there is a serious and imminent threat to public health posed by COVID-19. However, coronavirus legislation does not impose any restrictions on the types of events which can take place in Step 4, and local authorities may only exercise those powers by issuing a direction where that is necessary in public health terms, and any prohibitions, requirements or conditions imposed by the Direction are proportionate to the risk. Further information is available in the section on working with partners and the guidance on local authority powers to impose restrictions.

What to include in your risk assessment

To carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, you should consider the different ways the virus can be spread (aerosols, droplets and surfaces) and put in place measures to reduce the risk of each type of transmission. An example of the factors you should consider is included in the box below.

You will need to translate this into the specific actions you need to take. These will depend on the nature of your business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated and managed.

Some risk assessments may need to be broken down to cover different areas and different time periods within the same venue, particularly for large events. For example, those working at concession stands may be in an area with large concentrations of people for a significant part of the event, whereas attendees will move in and out of the area and have less exposure.

Some activities can increase the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. This happens where people are doing activities which generate more particles as they breathe heavily, such as singing, dancing, exercising or raising their voices. You should consider the specific risks of your facility or event, and take additional care to manage situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on COVID-19.

Your risk assessment should also include:

  • An up-to-date plan for what you will do in the event of an outbreak in your workplace. This includes nominating a member of staff as the single point of contact who will contact local public health teams. You can find more information and resources on handling outbreaks in the section on COVID-19 cases in the workplace.
  • Ensuring that workers, customers and visitors who feel unwell do not come to the workplace. By law, businesses must not require a worker who is legally required to self-isolate to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (normally their home).
  • Risks arising from periods of closure. If your building is unoccupied or has reduced occupancy during a period of restrictions, you should take steps to manage any risks that could arise when reopening (for example, by reviewing HSE’s guidance on the risk of legionella).
  • The impact of your policies on groups who have protected characteristics, and to those who are more at risk of being infected with COVID-19 or have a higher risk of serious illness. You can find more information in the guidance on protecting people who are defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable. You may also wish to refer to any relevant guidance produced by your sector, such as the 7 Inclusive Principles for Arts & Cultural Organisations.
  • Managing risk in any unusual workplaces. This could include specialist construction or archaeological sites, where it can be necessary for people to work in close contact in enclosed spaces (such as excavation trenches and roof spaces). You should consider ways to modify the work area or working practices to mitigate risk, and may find relevant advice in the guidance for construction and outdoor work.

Event organisers should also consider the risk factors identified by the Events Research Programme when undertaking risk assessments for their particular event or premises. These are set out in the additional risk guidance for event organisers.

Risks to consider

Aerosol and droplet transmission

The main way of spreading COVID-19 is through close contact with an infected person. When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles (droplets and aerosols) containing the virus that causes COVID-19. These particles can be breathed in by another person.

To reduce aerosol transmission, consider:

  • How best to increase ventilation in your facility. There are different ways of providing ventilation, including mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, natural ventilation which relies on passive flow through openings (doors, windows, vents) or a combination of the two. Open doors, windows and air vents where possible, to improve natural ventilation.
  • Identifying any poorly ventilated spaces and taking steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas. A CO2 monitor could help you assess whether a space is poorly ventilated, and if you should switch on additional mechanical ventilation or open windows. If you can’t improve ventilation in poorly ventilated spaces, consider restricting the number of people in these spaces or stop using them if possible.
  • Encouraging the use of outdoor space wherever possible.

To reduce droplet transmission, consider:

  • Putting in place measures to reduce contact between people, particularly between customers and workers. Where practical, measures could include:
    • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
    • Using screens or barriers to separate people (which can be beneficial if placed between people who will come into close proximity with each other) or using back-to-back or side-to-side working for your staff, instead of face-to-face.
    • Reducing the number of people your workers have contact with, for example by using fixed teams, partnering or cohorting so that each person works with only a few others.
  • Recommending the use of face coverings by workers or customers, particularly in enclosed and crowded spaces. There is no longer a legal requirement for staff and customers to wear face coverings in any setting, so you should review the section on face coverings to understand what this would mean for your business.

Surface transmission

Surfaces and belongings can also be contaminated with COVID-19, when people who are infected cough or sneeze near them or if they touch them.

To reduce surface transmission, consider:

  • Advising customers and workers to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser frequently. This is particularly important before and after touching shared objects or surfaces that other people touch regularly.
  • Maintaining regular cleaning of surfaces, particularly surfaces that people touch regularly.
  • Providing additional handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser, particularly in high-traffic or higher-risk areas, such as reception and entrance foyers, doorways, lifts and bathroom facilities.

Additional guidance for event organisers

Identifying risks

The Events Research Programme identified the following risks associated with specific settings or events, though it is important to recognise that not all of these risks are associated with every venue or setting. You should consider taking additional steps to manage risk if the event site or venue includes one or more of the factors below.

The risk of COVID-19 transmission at any event will depend on several factors, including the prevalence of the virus at the time and the characteristics of the event and the event venue. The highest risks of transmission happen when multiple factors such as venue environment, attendee behaviours and travel to and from events are combined. For example, an indoor event with a large number of people mixing in close proximity for a prolonged period of time is likely to present a higher risk than fewer people outside for a shorter period.

  • Indoor events: Indoor events present a significantly higher risk of transmission than similar events taking place in outdoor spaces. Poor ventilation in indoor spaces increases the risk of transmission further. Ventilation is the process of introducing fresh or cleaned air into indoor spaces. The more fresh or cleaned air that is brought inside, the more diluted any airborne virus will become. In poorly ventilated spaces the amount of virus in the air can build up, and residual virus can remain in the air after an infected person has left, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

  • Outdoor events (including those with indoor areas): Although outdoor events typically present fewer risks than indoor events, there may still be some indoor spaces within outdoor venues where risks are likely to be higher. This could include areas where people congregate at higher densities (such as concession stands, bars, turnstiles and toilets), in which ventilation may be poorer. These risks can be reduced through implementing such things as queuing systems and appropriate signage to avoid congestion (see ‘congested areas’ below for further details).

    Indoor settings such as private boxes and restaurants may still be occupied by some attendees for several hours during an event classified as ‘outdoors’. Ensuring that these spaces are sufficiently well-ventilated, and following the steps set out in the guidance for hospitality venues, can reduce transmission risk in these areas.

  • Congested areas: Some areas are more prone to potential congestion and crowding, including concession stands, bars, toilets, turnstiles, lifts, corridors, walkways, entry/exit points and ticket collection points. Congested areas or ‘pinch points’ will be present at all types of events (including outdoor events), and could potentially lead to an increased risk of transmission. Event organisers may want to consider additional risk management in these areas such as limiting the number of individuals who congregate for a longer duration, staggered entry and exit, or greater levels of ventilation in these zones.

  • Events with free movement between people: Events where there is significant close-mixing of people typically pose a higher risk, especially at those events where people will naturally tend to come together and mix for prolonged periods of time (for example, in front of a stage at a live performance, during a street event or on a dancefloor).

  • Crowd density: As crowds at an event become denser (particularly in relation to venue size and capacity), it becomes more difficult for people to be physically distant from each other, and close contact inevitably increases. The Events Research Programme found that increasing crowd density can have an impact on localised ventilation which may in turn result in an increased risk of transmission. Key areas of higher density were observed in queues, in hospitality areas, and when attendees were leaving the venue at the end of the event.

  • Large numbers of attendees: Events where large numbers of people attend do not necessarily constitute a greater risk than smaller events, (particularly if the event is outside or attendees are dispersed over a large area). However, end-to-end transmission risks are increased through large numbers of people travelling to and from venues and visiting nearby premises such as pubs, bars and restaurants. Early engagement between event organisers and local transport authorities to manage crowds near transport hubs and routes to and from the venue should be factored into the event planning process.

  • Events involving energetic activity: Observations from the Events Research Programme indicate that unstructured and energetic activity with a high crowd density may lead to higher airborne transmission risks. This could include activities such as actively chanting and celebrating while attending sporting events, singing along at gigs and concerts, or dancing/singing at a nightclub.

If you have identified that your event involves higher risks of transmission, you should take steps to manage this, by reducing the risk or mitigating its impact. Many large events will inherently involve multiple factors such as crowd density and free movement, but this guidance sets out ways you can mitigate these risks to ensure that they can take place as safely as possible. There is advice on the types of measures you can take to reduce risk at events in the section on managing customers and audiences, and further guidance on the steps you should take in the section on event planning.

You can use the risk management template to identify risks and risk management options specific to your event or setting, and help you to plan your event.

Managing your workforce

In this section:

Testing and vaccination

You should continue to put measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This is important even if your workers have:

  • received a recent negative test result
  • had the vaccine (either 1 or 2 doses)
  • natural immunity. This is proof of a positive PCR within 180 days (and after the 10 days isolation period).

Consider asking your employees to get tested regularly.

Regular testing could help identify more positive cases of COVID-19 in the workplace. Read further guidance on your options for workplace testing, or call 119 for more information.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the workplace

Ensure that you have an up-to-date plan setting out the steps to take if a case of COVID-19 is reported in your facility. This should be set out in your risk register, and should include the following actions:

  • People who are fully vaccinated, or (1) are aged under 18 and 6 months, (2) have taken part in, or are currently part of, an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial, or (3) are unable to get vaccinated due to medical reasons do not need to self-isolate if they’ve had close contact with someone who has COVID-19. If they get any COVID-19 symptoms, they should self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test.
  • Ensure that any workers who have symptoms leave the facility immediately to take a PCR test, and self-isolate while they wait for the result.
  • Immediately identify any close workplace contacts and ask them to self-isolate. You should not wait for NHS Test and Trace. This prompt action will help reduce the risk of a workplace outbreak.
  • If a customer presents with symptoms, or you become aware of a case of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 on-site, they should not be admitted or should be asked to leave the facility or event, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment. The customer should be advised to self-isolate in line with NHS guidelines and to take a PCR test.
    • Where possible, the customer should be assessed on-site (by a medical professional, if you have this provision). Unless they are in need of urgent medical attention and need to be transported to hospital for treatment, they should be encouraged to take a supervised lateral flow test. Any customer returning a positive result from a lateral flow test must be required to leave the facility or event. They should be advised to self-isolate in line with NHS guidelines and to take a PCR test.
  • Inform your local authority public health team. Where possible, nominate a single point of contact to lead on contacting local public health teams. 
  • Ensure your facility is thoroughly cleaned. Follow the guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.
  • Ensure that you and your staff are aware of any relevant guidance, such as the guidance for:
    - People who have been in close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19
    - People who live with someone who has or might have COVID-19.
    - NHS Test and Trace in the workplace.
    - Statutory sick pay due to COVID-19 (there is different guidance for employers and employees).

If the local PHE health protection team declares an outbreak:

  • You will be asked to record details of staff with symptoms of COVID-19 and assist with identifying contacts. You should therefore ensure that all employment records are up to date.
  • You will be provided with information about the outbreak management process. This will help you to implement control measures, assist with communications to staff and reinforce prevention messages.

Clearly set out that workers who have symptoms or who are self-isolating should not come into the workplace.

  • It is against the law for you to knowingly allow someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
  • You can enable workers to work from home while self-isolating, if this is appropriate and they are feeling well enough.
  • Review guidance for employers and employees on statutory sick pay due to COVID-19.
  • Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change to their sense of taste or smell). If a staff member (or someone in their household) has coronavirus symptoms, they should self-isolate and get a test, even if these symptoms are mild. Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a free NHS test.
  • People who test positive but have no symptoms must also self-isolate. You can find more information in the guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infections.

Going to the workplace

Since Step 4 we have seen a gradual return to offices and workplaces. As workers return to their workplaces, employers should continue to follow the Working Safely guidance. When considering whether workers should come into their place of work, you should:

  • reflect this in your risk assessment.
  • take action to manage the risks of transmission in line with this guidance.

We recognise that ways of working have shifted through the pandemic, and many employers are looking at hybrid models which include an element of home working. You should discuss the timing and phasing of any return, with workers. To help them to feel safe returning to work, consult them on any measures you have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

You should remain responsive to employee needs, and continue to use measures that help to reduce the risks to individuals in the workplace, giving extra consideration to people at higher risk and to workers facing mental and physical health difficulties.

Reducing risk to workers

Ensure you are aware of any relevant guidance for staff at higher risk.

Reduce the number of people your workers come into contact with.

  • Review layouts and processes to reduce the number of people your workers come into contact with. In particular, consider whether you can reduce contact between workers and customers.
  • This might include using screens or barriers to separate people (which can be beneficial if placed between people who will come into close proximity with each other) or using back-to-back or side-to-side working for your staff, instead of face-to-face.

Consider the impact of your policies on your workers.

  • Provide clear, consistent and regular communication to workers of any relevant safety measures or changes to policy/procedure. Engage with workers and worker representatives to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements.
  • Consider how this will affect staff with protected characteristics, and any adjustments you should make to take account of your duties under the equalities legislation.
  • It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, ethnicity, sex or disability. Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.
  • Discuss with disabled employees what reasonable adjustments can be made to the workplace so they can work safely.
  • Assess the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.
  • Make sure that the steps you take do not have an unjustifiable negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example, those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

Encourage customers and visitors to wear face coverings, for example through signage, if your facility or event is likely to include enclosed and crowded spaces.

  • Face coverings are no longer required by law. However, people should wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet. Where worn correctly, this can reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Your workers may choose to wear a face covering in the workplace. You should support them in doing so, and ensure they are aware of guidance on using face coverings safely.
  • Consider recommending the use of face coverings by workers and customers as a safety measure, in enclosed and crowded spaces where they may come into contact with people they don’t normally meet. When deciding whether you will recommend that workers or customers wear face coverings:
    • You need to consider the reasonable adjustments needed for workers and customers with disabilities. You also need to carefully consider how this fits with your other obligations to workers and customers arising from the law on employment rights, health and safety and equality legislation.
    • You should not ask people to wear face coverings while taking part in any strenuous activity or sport.
    • Remember that some people are not able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances. Be aware that face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

Consider through your risk assessment whether your workers need personal protective equipment (PPE). - If your event includes staff providing close contact services (such as medical personnel, massage therapists, security staff, hair and makeup technicians and beauticians), you may decide that clients and/or staff should wear a face covering, especially where practitioners are conducting treatments which require them to be in close proximity to a person’s face, mouth and nose. You should review the guidance for retail and consumer services and take account of the risks to staff and customers. - Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should keep doing so. - Do not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 unless you are in a clinical setting or responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Unless you’re in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 spreading is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that PPE has an extremely limited role in providing extra protection. - If your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.

Reducing risk to customers

In this section:

Communications and guidance

Take steps to ensure that customers who have symptoms or who are self-isolating do not attend your facility.

  • Clearly communicate that customers should not come to your facility or event if they need to self-isolate because they are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change in sense of taste or smell), even if these symptoms are mild.
  • Customers should be informed that if they, or anyone they live with, have one or more of these symptoms they should follow the guidance on testing and self-isolation.

Ensure customers know how to visit your venue or event safely.

  • Consider how you can inform visitors of any changes to processes in advance of their visit, for example on your website, when booking by phone or email, and in your digital marketing.
  • Ensure you make any entry requirements (such as the NHS COVID Pass - see below) clear to customers before booking, and at the point of sale.
  • Take steps to remind visitors of special measures if they are complex, varied or likely to be forgotten. For example, you could reinforce messages on signs through spoken communication from a greeter, or other staff such as ushers or curators.
  • Think about how to communicate important information to all of your customers, for example those who do not speak English as a first language, and those with protected characteristics (such as people who are hard of hearing or visually impaired).
  • Encourage customers to follow good hygiene practices, such as using hand sanitiser when they enter the building and washing their hands regularly. Consider how to ensure safety messages reach those with hearing or vision impairments.
  • Pre-event communications can be a particularly effective measure for events. You can find further advice about communications for events in the section on event planning.

Reducing risk to customers

Do not admit customers who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

  • If a customer presents with symptoms, or you become aware of a case of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 on-site, they should not be admitted or should be asked to leave the facility or event, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment. The customer should be advised to self-isolate in line with NHS guidelines and to take a PCR test.
  • Where possible, the customer should be assessed on-site (by a medical professional, if you have this provision). Unless they are in need of urgent medical attention and need to be transported to hospital for treatment, they should be encouraged to take a supervised lateral flow test. Any customer returning a positive result from a lateral flow test must be required to leave the facility or event. They should be advised to self-isolate in line with NHS guidelines and to take a PCR test, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment.

Consider displaying an NHS QR code so that customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app.

  • You are no longer required to collect customer contact details, or keep a record of your staff and visitors.
  • However, you are advised to continue to display an NHS QR code for customers wishing to check in using the app, as this will help to reduce the spread of the virus and protect your customers, visitors and staff. You do not have to ask customers to check in, or turn them away if they refuse.
  • If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details, for those who ask to check in but who do not have access to a smartphone or who prefer not to use the app.

Consider using the NHS COVID Pass to reduce the risk of transmission at your venue or event.

  • The NHS COVID Pass allows people to demonstrate that they are at a lower risk of carrying COVID-19 and transmitting it to others, through vaccination, testing or natural immunity. It can help organisations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
  • The government will work with organisations that operate large, crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of the NHS COVID Pass.
  • To support businesses, organisations and individuals in these settings, the NHS COVID Pass will be available through the NHS App, the NHS website, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Visitors will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results.
  • If you use the NHS COVID Pass, you should ensure that you comply with all relevant legal obligations and guidance, including on equalities. You can find more information in the NHS COVID Pass guidance.
  • Even when using the NHS COVID Pass, it is still important that you follow the rest of the guidance and put measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading at your venue.

Consider how best to reduce risks to customers.

  • Minimise unnecessary contact. You could do this by using online booking and pre-payment, and encouraging contactless payments wherever possible.
  • Ensure that any measures you put in place are suitable for your facility or event. For example, for business events and conferences, you could consider providing (or recommending the purchase of) name tags and a badge holder for business cards, to avoid the exchange of business cards.
  • There will be additional factors to consider if you are operating a large or complex event, such as a conference, street event or festival. You can find additional information in the section on crowd management and events.
  • There will also be additional factors to consider if your facility is (or you are holding events in) a venue with specific requirements, such as a historic building like a stately home or castle. You can find more information on safety measures in heritage locations (including consent and planning permission) in the additional guidance for heritage locations, and further advice in Historic England’s guidance on reopening a heritage location, which has been prepared in line with guidance published by the government.
  • You should not introduce measures which involve spraying people with disinfectants (such as in a tunnel, cabinet, or chamber) under any circumstances. You can find more information about these types of measures in the HSE guidance on disinfecting using fog, mist and other systems. The use of temperature screening products is not recommended by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, as there is little scientific evidence to support temperature screening as a reliable method for detection of COVID-19, particularly for asymptomatic cases.

Managing customers, spectators and audiences

There are no capacity caps on the number of people permitted to attend visitor attractions or events. However, you may wish to take steps to ensure customers can attend as safely as possible, for example by introducing one-way systems to minimise crowding.

These are likely to be specific to your type of venue or event, so you should think about the most appropriate steps you could take to manage risk.

For example, you could:

  • Consider how you can reduce risk to staff who work with large numbers of guests. For example, installing screens can be beneficial if placed between people who will come into close proximity with each other. You could consider installing screens at ticket offices or box offices, and providing hand sanitiser for staff and customers.
  • Consider using a CO2 monitor to assess whether there is sufficient ventilation in your venue. If you identify that ventilation is poor, you should take steps to improve fresh air flow. If you cannot increase the supply of fresh air, you should consider whether you can reduce the number of people in your venue. You can find more information on ventilation and CO2 monitors in the section on ventilation.
  • Identify areas of crowding and consider what steps can be taken to avoid congestion, if they present a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. For example, historic buildings such as places of worship or ruined structures often have constrained spaces such as small rooms, narrow staircases and limited entrance or exit points. Measures such as limiting the number of people entering the space or staggering entrance and exit times will help to avoid overcrowding.
  • In stadiums, auditoriums and theatre-style settings, consider:
    • Providing allocated seating where possible. You should ensure that your facility is accessible (in line with your responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010) and that seating arrangements take into account the needs of people with disabilities and wheelchair users, and support from carers. You should also consider how seating arrangements work with any other accessibility services you offer, such as access to captioning or audio description services.
    • Where allocated seating is not possible, consider other ways to reduce these risks, such as additional stewarding. You can find more information in the section on crowd management and events.

Crowd management and events

You should take additional steps to manage risk, if the event or attraction:

  • takes place indoors;
  • takes place outdoors, but also has indoor spaces;
  • includes congested areas;
  • involves free movement between people;
  • includes crowd density; or
  • has a large number of attendees.

Many large events, such as music festivals and street events, will inherently involve multiple factors such as crowd density and free movement. This guidance sets out ways you can mitigate these risks to ensure that they can take place as safely as possible, including options for managing attendees to reduce risk.

Not every option will be applicable or practical for every event and setting, so you should consider the options that will be most appropriate for your event. This may mean incorporating different measures for different areas and different time periods within the same venue, particularly for large events. For example, some measures such as queue management will be appropriate for external and hospitality areas, but other measures are likely to be more suitable around stages or performance areas.

You should consider the risks and measures relevant to your event through your risk assessment, and you can use the risk management template to help you to assess options and plan your event.

When considering any interventions, you should take into account the impact on people with protected characteristics, and the need for any reasonable adjustments.

Crowd management measures

Stewarding/licensed door supervision

  • Consider using stewards, ushers or licensed door supervisors to manage attendees, to reduce the risks from crowding. Ensure they are aware of any attendee obligations or requirements and are able to provide appropriate guidance and respond to queries.
  • Consider how they can be best used within your event or venue. Extra stewarding may be helpful at pinch-points where queues will normally form, outside the venue and in any seating areas.
  • Take into account any risks to stewards and other staff, and ways these can be reduced. Stewards, licensed door supervisors and other staff and volunteers face the same risks as event attendees. Consider in your risk register whether there are any steps you can take to reduce these risks, such as using designated positions to supervise crowds.

Zoning

  • Consider dividing the venue into zones so that attendees can be managed in smaller groups to reduce mixing, especially within structured settings.
  • This could include using floor markings or temporary barriers and controlling the flow and numbers of attendees in each zone. For example, each group of attendees could use separate turnstiles, stairwells, bars, toilets and seating areas within a stadium.
  • Coloured wristbands could be used to signpost which zones attendees should or should not enter, along with close supervision by stewards and/or licensed door supervisors to manage any overcrowding issues and ensure safe control and compliance.

Crowd movement strategies

  • Implementing queue management outside venues, which could include using barriers and ensuring that there are sufficient venue staff available to direct attendees appropriately, to avoid congestion and blocking areas and routes being used by people not attending the event. Where necessary, discuss with local authorities the closure of pavements, highways and other public spaces adjacent to venues, in order to manage queuing arrangements safely and effectively.
  • Where multiple checks for entry are required, consider staggering checking processes to ensure efficient entry to venues
  • Using controlled access and egress in higher-risk areas , such as concession stands/bars, toilets, turnstiles, lifts, corridors, walkways and entry/exit points and at standing performances.
  • Using as many entry and exit points as possible to reduce congestion, both outside and inside the venue, and ensure these are clearly marked.
  • Introducing a one-way flow system with clear markings and signage.
  • Using clear signage, video screens and PA/audio announcements to provide additional information to attendees and to reinforce crowd movement messaging.
  • Encouraging attendees to purchase tickets in advance and send by post or electronically to avoid ticket collection queues.
  • Using timed ticketing for all-day events/activities.

Managing your facility or event setting

In this section:

Cleaning

Frequent cleaning of surfaces, particularly those that people touch often, reduces the potential for COVID-19 to spread and is a critical part of working safely.

  • Ensure you are maintaining clean workspaces through regular use of your usual cleaning products.
  • Frequently clean surfaces, particularly those that people touch often. Pay particular attention to those in high-traffic areas, such as door handles, lift buttons and handrails.
  • Regularly clean shared equipment, such as microphones used by speakers at events, between users where this is practical.
  • Frequently clean toilet facilities. Set clear use and cleaning guidance to ensure they are kept clean, including putting up a visible and up-to-date cleaning schedule. Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.
  • If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19, follow the guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

Large venues and events should also:

  • Frequently clean audience or spectator areas, including seating and concourse areas. Pay particular attention to touch-points such as doors, door handles, seat arms, handrails and taps. Where possible, you should organise your attraction or event so that these areas are cleaned between use by different customers. For example, cleaning seating areas between theatre performances or elite sport competitions.
  • Take steps to reduce crowding in toilet facilities where possible, for example by implementing one-way systems.
  • Provide additional waste facilities, including closed bins, and ensure rubbish is collected frequently.

Considerations for heritage locations:

  • Ensure cleaning materials and schedules are appropriate for historic surfaces and materials. Some historic surfaces are vulnerable to damage through inappropriate cleaning, for example with strong chemicals (such as concentrated bleach).
  • Consider the most effective ways of regularly cleaning sensitive historic surfaces in high-traffic areas (such as entrances / stairways and offices in listed buildings) or touchpoints (such as handrails and surfaces) without causing lasting damage to them.
  • Consider alternative approaches where increased frequency or intensity of cleaning would be damaging to a surface or material. For example, placing temporary covers over sensitive surfaces before cleaning other areas, or leaving areas empty for appropriate periods between visits.
  • Review specialist advice. You should review Historic England’s guidance on cleaning and disinfecting historic surfaces, which has been prepared in line with guidance published by the government, or consult specialists for advice on particularly sensitive historic materials.

Hygiene

Good hygiene practices, such as frequent handwashing, play a crucial role in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

  • Put in place hygiene measures to reduce the risk of transmission. This should include providing handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser, particularly in high-traffic or higher-risk areas, such as reception and entrance foyers, doorways, lifts and bathroom facilities. This could include placing hand sanitiser stations at the entrances of different buildings or areas within your event site.
  • Ensure handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser stations are available near shared facilities, equipment and objects. For example, at the entrance and exit of theme park attractions and rides.
  • Ensure that handwashing and hand sanitiser facilities are checked and refilled regularly, and that any equipment placed is accessible to (and does not impede) wheelchair users.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices, such as encouraging staff and customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands regularly. You could use signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, and good hygiene practices like avoiding touching your face and coughing or sneezing into your arm. Consider how to ensure safety messages reach those with hearing or vision impairments.

Ventilation

In enclosed spaces (such as indoor settings, or indoor areas of outdoor venues), ventilation is an important control measure to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission of COVID-19. You should consider how best to increase ventilation in your facility, to maximise the supply of fresh or cleaned air. You can watch a video from the Health and Safety Executive which explains how ventilation reduces the risk of transmission and the steps that businesses can take.

However, ventilation will not reduce the risk of droplet or surface transmission, so you should also put in place other control measures such as cleaning.

Steps you should take:

  • Opening doors, windows and air vents where possible, to improve natural ventilation. You should take particular care to keep toilets and shower facilities well-ventilated, as these can be areas of higher risk. Open doors, windows and air vents where possible, and ensure extractor fans work effectively.
  • If using mechanical ventilation, ensuring that your systems are set to maximise fresh air and minimise air recirculation. Maximising the amount of fresh or cleaned air the system draws in will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Heritage locations should take care to increase ventilation in a way which does not endanger historic items. Doors and windows can be propped open if they do not cause an environmental, collection, safety, fire or security risk.
  • Identifying any poorly ventilated spaces and taking steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas. The priority for your risk assessment is to identify areas of your workplace that are usually occupied, and poorly ventilated. You should prioritise these areas for improvement to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission. A CO2 monitor could help you assess whether a space is poorly ventilated, and if you should use additional mechanical ventilation or open windows (see the box below for further information on CO2 monitors). If you can’t improve ventilation in poorly ventilated spaces, consider whether it is safer to restrict the number of people in these spaces or stop using them if possible.
  • Encouraging the use of outside space where practical , in particular for higher-risk activity such as exercise or when people are singing or raising their voices.

Further information and advice relating to ventilation in the workplace can be found in the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on ventilation and air conditioning.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitors

Using Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitors
People exhale carbon dioxide (CO2) when they breathe out. If there is a build-up of CO2 in an area it can indicate that ventilation needs improving.

Although CO2 levels are not a direct measure of possible exposure to COVID-19, checking levels using a monitor can help you identify poorly ventilated areas. Read HSE advice on how to use a CO2 monitor.

How the measurements can help you take action
CO2 measurements should be used as a broad guide to ventilation within a space rather than treating them as safe thresholds.

Outdoor levels are around 400ppm and indoors a consistent CO2 value less than 800ppm is likely to indicate that a space is well ventilated.

A CO2 concentration of above 1500ppm in a space is an indicator of poor ventilation. You should take action to improve ventilation where CO2 readings are consistently higher than 1500ppm.

Where there is continuous talking or singing, or high levels of physical activity (such as dancing, playing sport or exercising), providing ventilation sufficient to keep CO2 levels below 800ppm is recommended.

Where CO2 monitors can help
CO2 monitors can be used to check ventilation in a wide range of settings.

In large areas such as concert halls or event spaces, multiple sensors may be required to provide meaningful information.

There are some spaces where CO2 monitors are less likely to provide useful readings. These are:

  • Areas occupied by people for short periods or for varying amounts of time. For example, a railway station or an atrium.
  • Areas where air cleaning units are in use. Filtration can remove contaminants (such as COVID-19) from the air but will not remove CO2.
  • Spaces like changing rooms, toilets or small meeting rooms.
  • Spaces used by low numbers of people.
  • Areas where CO2 is produced as part of a work process.

Businesses and event organisers should still provide adequate ventilation in areas where CO2 monitors are less likely to be useful.

Additional guidance: heritage locations

In this section:

Safety measures at historic sites

If you choose to put in place safety measures for heritage locations, you should ensure they are suitable for your site.

  • Take a proportionate approach. A famous stately home popular with guests may need a mix of approaches (regular signs on visitor routes, and staff on-hand to remind visitors of any special measures in place), while an isolated archaeological site or remote historic structure is unlikely to need any specific signs or special measures.
  • Consider how best to manage visitors without damaging historic buildings or materials, such as communicating information through temporary barriers or standalone signs, rather than posters.
  • Temporary floor markings (e.g. using tape, stickers, reversible paint or signs) can also be used if you wish to implement one-way routes, although care should be taken when using any adhesives or marking materials as they may damage sensitive floor materials (particularly if in place for extended periods).
  • If you are putting in place measures such as temporary visitor routes and one-way systems outdoors (e.g. in historic parks, gardens and archaeological sites), consider the best way to do this for the site. For example, you could create mown paths in grassland, but you should monitor these routes for visitor erosion and revise them as needed to protect your site. You should avoid placing routes (and equipment such as bins and benches) over archaeological features or earthworks, or damaging garden planting or features.
  • Ensure that measures maintain accessibility. Where routes are revised (e.g. if you choose to implement one-way systems) consider how to ensure they remain accessible to all visitors. Where temporary routes are not accessible to people using wheelchairs, you must make every effort to find a practical alternative, such as using alternative entrances and exits for users in wheelchairs and carers).

Temporary works at historic sites

You should consider whether you will require consent or planning permission for any physical interventions or safety measures taken at your location.

Where physical alterations that affect listed buildings or scheduled monuments are necessary, listed building consent (LBC) or scheduled monument consent (SMC) is usually required. However, if temporary works are needed to allow heritage sites to function safely in response to COVID-19, they can be carried out in ways that will not require consent, but you should confirm this by seeking appropriate advice, from your local planning authority (in relation to LBC) or Historic England (in relation to SMC).

There are a number of ways in which physical interventions can be undertaken without damaging the historic fabric of listed buildings, and which do not affect what is important about a place (the ‘special interest’ in the case of a listed building). These types of interventions will not need LBC (although planning permission may be required - see the box below).

It is an offence to carry out unauthorised works to a listed building, a scheduled monument or a protected wreck. If you are unsure of a site’s status, speak to the local planning authority (in the case of listed buildings) or Historic England (in the case of scheduled monuments or protected wrecks).

Key points for heritage locations:

  • Check which system applies to your heritage location. This may be LBC, SMC or another system (for example, many places of worship are exempt from LBC as they have a parallel system of management). On a complex site with multiple structures, more than one system may apply. You can find more information on the different systems below, in the section on guidance for different types of facility. You should check with your local planning authority and Historic England which system applies to your location and follow the relevant processes.
  • Record any measures taken on your risk assessment, including changes to processes or physical alterations to heritage assets. The site operator should review changes regularly to ensure they are effective, and that they are not causing permanent damage to the historic fabric.
  • Check if you need planning permission or advertising consent. Planning permission may be required for some temporary changes (such as installing a gazebo in the grounds of a designated heritage asset), even where LBC or SMC is not. Advertising consent may be needed for changes involving signage. You should check whether consent or permission are required for your planned works with your local planning authority (or Historic England in relation to SMCs).
  • If installing temporary structures such as gazebos, ensure they are not located in archaeologically sensitive areas. The insertion and removal of spikes and fixings can damage underlying archaeology. You can find further advice from Historic England on installing temporary structures.
  • Contact sector specialists (such as the Historic England regional office) if you need advice. Sector bodies can help you to understand what you need to do, or suggest alternative ways in which COVID-19 mitigation measures might be achieved without the need for consent, for example by locating them away from the monument.

Guidance for different types of facility

Scheduled Monuments

  • Most interventions to scheduled monuments will require SMC to be obtained in advance.
  • If you are considering works to a scheduled monument (temporary or otherwise), you should contact the relevant Historic England regional office, who can suggest ways to implement safety measures without the need for consent.

World Heritage Sites

  • Some parts or elements of World Heritage Sites may also have a national designation, and must follow this guidance to operate in a COVID-Secure way. However they should also be aware of any advice issued by relevant bodies such as World Heritage Site Coordinators and their Steering Groups.
  • It is the responsibility of individual operators to assess their site to determine whether it is safe to allow public access. Extensive World Heritage Sites, such as the City of Bath, will contain many individual historic commercial premises, attractions and publicly accessible historic spaces, and should ensure they have reviewed guidance for the relevant areas and types of facility within their site.

Marine sites

  • Marine wrecks may be designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 (PoWA), the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 (PoWRA) or as Scheduled Monuments.
  • It is an offence to carry out unauthorised works to a protected wreck or scheduled monument. If you are unsure of a site’s status, speak to Historic England and the Marine Management Organisation.
  • All professional and recreational divers should comply with HSE regulations, and review any relevant guidance for advice, such as the British Sub-Aqua Club’s guidance on safe diving.

Places of Worship

  • Many places of worship are exempt from LBC as they have a parallel system of management in place. You should check with your local planning authority and Historic England which system applies to your location and follow the relevant processes.
  • Where the religious group or denomination benefits from the ecclesiastical exemption, works to listed churches or other buildings are controlled by the denomination, except where the works need planning permission (for example, works to the exteriors of churches).
  • The denomination’s special advisers will be able to advise the congregations of those churches as to which works need consent, and may also be able to advise on appropriate relaxations of the system in some generic circumstances.

Listed Buildings

Many works to listed buildings require consent, even for limited or temporary works. However, where temporary works are necessary in order to operate safely within the context of COVID-19, local planning authorities may choose to apply the consent and permission systems flexibly, with the benefit of appropriate specialist advice.

Some examples of work which may not require Listed Buildings Consent are listed below. This should not be treated as a definitive list, given the wide variety and unique nature of historic buildings and sites, and the impact of measures will differ. You can find more information on consent in Historic England’s guidance on heritage consents and guidance on listed building consent, or speak to your local planning authority. You should also remember that some works may also require planning permission, and some new signage may require advertisement consent.

LBC may not be needed

An LBC is unlikely to be needed where you are adding or installing temporary measures which do not cause any permanent damage. This could include:

  • installing temporary screens
  • temporarily covering surfaces
  • adding temporary floor markings and signage
  • ‘boxing-in’ particularly sensitive features
  • adding temporary lightweight shelter structures (such as gazebos or marquees)
  • installing temporary ramps in new accessible routes
  • adding temporary signs to indicate new/one-way routes
  • adding temporary freestanding barriers, signs and hand sanitiser stations

LBC likely to be needed

An LBC is more likely to be required where the work is invasive or non-reversible. This could include:

  • inserting safety screens or barriers that remove or cut through historic detailing (such as decorative cornices or coving), or where chases are cut into historic wall surfaces
  • removing or altering features such as historic handrails, even if for a temporary period
  • Installing signage intended to be permanent, and which affects the physical fabric and/or visual appearance of the structure
  • widening doors, making new openings, inserting permanent ramps, removing stairs or other permanent alterations for new staff, customer or visitor flows
  • making extensive nail or screw holes important historic fabric in order to secure screens, barriers or other structures

Additional guidance: event planning

In this section:

This section sets out advice for event organisers on the factors you should take into when planning an event. This guidance applies to indoor or outdoor events of any size, organised by businesses, charitable organisations, or public bodies. It should be considered alongside any further sector-specific guidance (such as the guidance for elite sport operations, for elite sport competitions) or guidance relevant to the event setting (such as the guidance for hospitality or accommodation facilities or the guidance for managing public outdoor settings).

Key principles for event planning

The following key principles set out the processes to work through and factors to consider when planning an event, to ensure it can take place as safely as possible.

Assess the risks relevant to your event and put in place practical measures to reduce them.

  • Follow the steps in the section on risk assessments, and pay particular attention to the advice for events. This sets out the key risks for events identified by the Events Research Programme, and can help you to understand how the characteristics of your event may affect the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and which mitigations are likely to be most appropriate.
  • Consider how best to manage your customers based on your risk assessment, for example by putting in place crowd management measures if your event involves large numbers of attendees.
  • You can use the risk management template to identify risks and risk management options specific to your event or setting, and help you to plan your event.

Engage with local authorities and other relevant bodies early in your event planning process, to ensure your event can take place as safely as possible.

  • Local authorities and local transport operators play an important role in enabling events to take place as safely as possible. Engaging with these groups as early as possible in the planning process will help all partners to understand how you have identified and mitigated any risks, and ensure your event can take place as safely as possible.
  • You can find more information on working with these groups in the section on working with partners.

Ensure that your event takes place in line with relevant guidance.

  • Review any relevant guidance for facilities in your venue, such as cafes and bars, shops or close contact services.
  • Check with relevant organisations in your sector, who may have tailored advice for specific types of facility or business.
  • Organisers of elite sport events with spectators should ensure their event is organised in line with the guidance for elite sport. This includes agreeing the roles and responsibilities, command, control and coordination arrangements between the competition delivery partners, particularly those that relate to spectator safety and management. This is particularly important for major sport events and cross-border competitions.
  • Organisers of street events should read this guidance alongside the guidance for managing public outdoor settings.
  • Organisers of events which include animals should read this guidance alongside the guidance for people with animals, which includes advice on working with animals.

Consider displaying an NHS QR code so that customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app.

  • You are no longer required to collect customer contact details, or keep a record of your staff and visitors.
  • However, you are advised to continue to display an NHS QR code for customers wishing to check in using the app, as this will help to reduce the spread of the virus and protect your customers, visitors and staff. You do not have to ask customers to check in, or turn them away if they refuse.
  • If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details, for those who ask to check in but who do not have access to a smartphone or who prefer not to use the app.

Consider using the NHS COVID Pass to reduce the risk of transmission at your venue or event.

  • The NHS COVID Pass allows people to demonstrate that they are at a lower risk of carrying COVID-19 and transmitting it to others, through vaccination, testing or natural immunity. It can help organisations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
  • The Government will work with organisations that operate large, crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of the NHS COVID Pass.
  • To support businesses, organisations and individuals in these settings, the NHS COVID Pass will be available through the NHS App, the NHS website, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Visitors will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results.
  • If you use the NHS COVID Pass, you should ensure that you comply with all relevant legal obligations and guidance, including on equalities. You can find more information in the NHS COVID Pass guidance.
  • Even when using the NHS COVID Pass, it is still important that you follow the rest of the guidance and put measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading at your venue.

Consider how best to communicate information to attendees.

  • This should include ensuring that attendees are aware of relevant information before they attend, and that messaging during the event (such as signage and audio announcements) supports the communication of any relevant safety measures.
  • You can find more information in the section on communications and guidance.

Ensure your risk assessment includes protocols for managing suspected or confirmed cases amongst attendees.

Follow the steps set out in the section on reducing risk to customers, and make sure your event planning includes the following points:

  • If an attendee presents with symptoms, or you become aware of a case of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 on-site, they should not be admitted or should be asked to leave the facility or event, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment. The customer should be advised to self-isolate in line with NHS guidelines and to take a PCR test.
    • Where possible, the customer should be assessed on-site (by a medical professional, if you have this provision). Unless they are in need of urgent medical attention and need to be transported to hospital for treatment, they should be encouraged to take a supervised lateral flow test. Any customer returning a positive result from a lateral flow test must be required to leave the facility or event. They should be advised to self-isolate in line with NHS guidelines and to take a PCR test, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment.
    • Where medical and testing facilities are not available on-site, event organisers should use their own discretion in managing instances where an attendee presents on site with COVID-19 symptoms, but this could include refusing entry, particularly where the event’s terms and conditions specify this.
  • Elite sport and other major events should agree their case management protocols with the event’s or venue’s medical officer. You can find more information on medical protocols in the guidance for elite sport operations.

Take steps to reduce the risk of transmission at the event, including putting in place cleaning and hygiene protocols, and ensuring your venue has adequate ventilation.

  • If you are not the venue owner/operator or are hiring a venue for your event, ensure you discuss ventilation and cleaning with the venue operator, to check you are comfortable with their risk management protocols. You should agree with the venue in advance any additional measures you will take to manage risk, such as opening windows to increase ventilation.
  • Elite sport event organisers should review existing protocols to ensure they are appropriate for the event, including the attendance of spectators. For example, consult the medical officer to ensure the medical protocols include sufficient cover for the number of spectators expected, and ensure your risk assessment includes processes to follow if a case is suspected on-site.

Encourage customers and visitors to wear face coverings, for example through signage, if your facility or event is likely to include enclosed and crowded spaces.

  • Face coverings are no longer required by law. However, people should wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet. Where worn correctly, this can reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Your workers may choose to wear a face covering in the workplace. You should support them in doing so, and ensure they are aware of guidance on using face coverings safely.
  • Consider recommending the use of face coverings by workers and customers as a safety measure, in enclosed and crowded spaces where they may come into contact with people they don’t normally meet. When deciding whether you will ask workers or customers to wear face coverings:
    • You need to consider the reasonable adjustments needed for workers and customers with disabilities. You also need to carefully consider how this fits with other obligations to workers and customers arising from the law on employment rights, health and safety and equality legislation.
    • You should not ask people to wear face coverings while taking part in any strenuous activity or sport.
    • Remember that some people are not able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances. Be aware that face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

Consider through your risk assessment whether your workers need personal protective equipment (PPE). - If your event includes staff providing close contact services (such as medical personnel, massage therapists, security staff, hair and makeup technicians and beauticians), you may decide that clients and/or staff should wear a face covering, especially where practitioners are conducting treatments which require them to be in close proximity to a person’s face, mouth and nose. You should review the guidance for retail and consumer services and take account of the risks to staff and customers. - Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should keep doing so. - Do not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 unless you are in a clinical setting or responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Unless you’re in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 spreading is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that PPE has an extremely limited role in providing extra protection. - If your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.

Communications and guidance

Communications with attendees are an important part of event planning, particularly if you are putting in place any safety measures your attendees should be aware of.

Put in place a communications plan to ensure relevant information on COVID-19 measures is communicated to attendees before and during the event.

  • Consider how best to communicate with your event or sector. For example, elite sport events can use regular communication with fans to support this messaging, as well as the event-specific communications.
  • Websites, social media channels and any digital or written engagement should include up-to-date information on any attendee obligations or requirements in relation to COVID-19.
  • Where appropriate, consider putting in place an attendee code of behaviour which sets out the information that spectators, audiences or other attendees should be aware of, and the measures they should follow at the event. See the box below for more advice on how you could do this.

Use pre-event communications to inform attendees of important information:

  • Ensure that any relevant requirements or conditions of entry and requirements (such as the NHS COVID Pass or negative test requirements) are well-communicated at the point of sale.
  • Encourage attendees not to travel to, or attend, events if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Clearly set out that those who have been instructed to self-isolate must not attend.
  • Provide attendees with information on safety measures (such as modifications to the competition venue) and guidance they should follow.

Consider how best to communicate these messages during the event.

  • Onsite signage and audio messaging should provide up-to-date information on any attendee obligations or requirements.
  • Staff and volunteers should be made aware of any attendee obligations or requirements and be able to provide guidance and respond to queries.
  • All information should be made available to people with other access requirements, including those with visual and hearing impairments.

Attendee code of behaviour

Organisers may want to issue a code of conduct to attendees, as part of their pre-event communications. This is particularly useful for large events with crowds, such as elite sport events with spectators, large music events and festivals.

This could include asking attendees to agree that they will:

  • Undertake their own health risk assessment, considering if they wish to travel to and attend such an event (taking into account their own age and any health conditions or vulnerabilities).
  • Follow any relevant guidance on travel. For large events with an international audience (such as major cross-border sporting events), this should include relevant regulations on international travel, such as testing and quarantine measures.
  • Check for symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change in sense of taste or smell) before travelling to the event. Spectators should be informed that if they, or anyone they live with, have one or more of these symptoms (even if they are mild) they should not attend, and should follow the guidance on testing and self-isolation.
  • Not attend the event if they need to self-isolate, for example because they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, are required to isolate after travel, or because they are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you choose to use the NHS COVID Pass at your event, demonstrate their COVID-19 status through vaccination, testing or natural immunity, as a condition of entry.
  • Adhere to any relevant COVID-19 safety measures in place at the event, including observing directions given by stewards.
  • Adhere to any other relevant behaviours identified through your risk assessment or usual event planning, such as responsible use of alcohol.

You could also use this communication to encourage attendees to use the NHS COVID-19 app and scan your QR code poster, to support NHS Test and Trace. However, this should not be a condition of entry.

Working with partners

Local authorities

  • Local authorities have an important role in ensuring that events are able to go ahead as safely as possible in their area. They work with the Health and Safety Executive to ensure that businesses operate safely. They also have powers to prohibit or restrict an event, where there is a serious and imminent threat to public health posed by COVID-19. However, these powers can only be used where it is necessary in public health terms, and any prohibitions, requirements or conditions imposed by the Direction are proportionate to the risk.
  • Event organisers are strongly encouraged to factor early engagement with the relevant local authority into the event planning process to ensure any issues can be identified and resolved without delay.
  • There is more detail on local authority enforcement powers and decision-making in the box below.

Transport operators

  • If you are organising a large event, or one which is likely to have an impact on transport networks (such as large groups arriving in small stations at the same time), you should work with transport operators to manage the impact of your event on the networks, and ensure the event can run as safely as possible.
  • You should engage with local transport authorities as early as possible in the event planning process, and work closely with them and local authorities to reduce pressure on the local transport network where large and/or multiple events are taking place in their local area.
  • You should consider using the travel demand management toolkit to identify potential issues and develop a transport management plan, particularly to manage crowds near transport hubs and routes to and from the venue.
  • You should also provide clear communications to your attendees of any relevant travel guidance, or advice on how to travel safely to your event.

Safety Advisory Groups

  • Local authorities can consider convening a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) to bring together representatives from relevant groups who can advise on public safety at events. SAGs can advise on planning and managing events and will encourage cooperation and coordination between the relevant groups.
  • A SAG should include representatives from the local authority, emergency services, the local Director of Public Health (or a representative) and any other relevant partners, such as transport operators.
  • If a SAG is not convened, local authorities should engage public health colleagues at the earliest opportunity to ensure they are aware of any relevant public health information.

Sports ground safety (elite sport events)

  • Elite sport event organisers should refer to the Sports Ground Safety Authority’s Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (the ‘Green Guide’). This is UK government-authorised guidance on spectator safety at sports grounds. It is specifically applicable to all sports grounds which are designated by the UK government Secretary of State, but also provides best practice guidance more broadly across all sport competition venues.

Legal powers for local authorities to prohibit or restrict an event

Local authorities can prohibit or restrict venues or events using the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020.

Local authority decisions on events should be made on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to the guidance issued by the government. Any direction issued under the No. 3 Regulations must be notified to the government, which will consider whether its issue was appropriate. Government has the power, in appropriate circumstances, to direct a local authority to revoke a direction.

Any direction issued must meet the three legal conditions:

  • it is responding to a serious and imminent threat to public health;
  • it is necessary to prevent, protect against, control or provide a public health response in relation to the incidence or spread of COVID-19; and
  • the measures taken are a proportionate way to achieve that purpose.

Local authorities should not issue blanket bans on events. Where there are concerns about the safety of an event, they should engage with the event organiser to resolve any issues at the earliest opportunity.

Local authorities must consider any advice from their Director of Public Health before issuing a direction, and need to review each direction at least once every seven days.

If an event organiser, the owner or occupier of the premises where the event is held or any other person involved in hosting the event goes against such a direction, they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) by a police officer, police community support officer or other designated person.

Risk management template

Event organisers may find using a checklist like the one below helpful when identifying risks and risk management options specific to their event or setting. Please note that a single event can include more than one risk factor, so you may need to refer to multiple rows.

You can download or print a blank template to refer to when you are planning your event(s).

You can also see an example of a completed risk management template for an indoor event with free movement of attendees and high crowd density, such as a large music event.