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 the guidance for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

What’s changed

27 January 2022: Guidance updated to remove the remaining Plan B measures on face coverings and COVID-19 status checks.

  • People are no longer legally required to wear face coverings. However, people are still advised to wear them in crowded and enclosed spaces where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet. Read more about face coverings.
  • Venues and events are no longer required by law to check the COVID-19 status of their customers. You can still choose to use the NHS COVID Pass on a voluntary basis. Read more about COVID-19 status checks.

Priority actions

There are 6 main actions you can take to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus (COVID-19). These are called priority actions as they are important steps that will apply to most businesses. Read the full guidance for advice on how to do this in a way that works for your workplace.

  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. Read about risk assessments and additional advice for event organisers.

  2. Provide adequate ventilation. Make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air to enclosed spaces where there are people present. This can be natural ventilation (windows, doors and vents), mechanical ventilation (fans and ducts), or a combination of both. Identify any poorly ventilated spaces that are usually occupied (a CO2 monitor may help in some cases) and consider how to improve fresh air flow in these areas. Heritage locations should take into account the preservation of the building or artefacts displayed. Read about ventilation.

  3. Clean more often. It’s especially important to clean surfaces that people touch a lot. Heritage locations should ensure cleaning materials and schedules are appropriate for historic surfaces and materials. You should ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and to clean their hands frequently. Read about cleaning and hygiene.

  4. Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms. Staff members or customers should self-isolate immediately if they show any symptoms of COVID-19 and take a PCR test as soon as possible, even if they are fully vaccinated. If they receive a positive COVID-19 test result, they must complete their full self-isolation period. They must also self-isolate if they are informed by NHS Test and Trace that they are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, unless they are exempt (see more on when people need to self-isolate). 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. Read about COVID-19 cases in the workplace.

  5. Enable people to check in at your venue. You can choose to display an NHS QR code poster so people can check in at your venue, to help NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus. Read about NHS QR codes.

  6. Communicate and train. Tell workers and customers how to visit your workplace safely, and keep them updated on your safety measures. Read about communicating with workers and communicating with customers.

Some areas or types of facility within your premises or event may have their own specific guidance. If this is relevant to you, review the guidance for hospitality venues (such as cafes and bars), shops, branches and close contact services, offices, factories and labs, construction and other outdoor work, and hotels and guest accommodation. You can also check with relevant organisations in your sector, as they 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 manage your workplace 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.

To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate assessment of the risks that apply to your workplace (find out how to do a risk assessment). You can then identify the most appropriate actions to help to keep staff, customers and others safe. You must consult unions or workers as part of this process, and you may also want to consult industry representatives.

You should use this guidance to consider the risk within your business and help decide the appropriate measures to adopt. The priority actions are a good place to start, as they are important measures which will apply to most businesses.

This guidance does not supersede your existing legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment and equalities duties. It’s important that as a business or an employer you continue to comply with your existing obligations. This includes those relating to equality between individuals with different protected characteristics. This document contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations.

Remember this guidance does not just cover your workers. You must also take into account customers and guests, agency workers, contractors, volunteers and other people who visit your workplace.

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 guided tours, water parks and theme parks, 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 arcades, family entertainment centres, adult gaming centres, 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:

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

You must:

  • complete a risk assessment of COVID-19 in the workplace
  • identify ways to manage those risks

Doing a risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to to manage the risks of COVID-19.

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.

How to do a risk assessment

Follow the steps set out in the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on how to do a risk assessment and how to assess COVID-19 risks.

This will help you to:

  • identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of COVID-19
  • think about who could be at risk
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • identify the controls needed to reduce the risk
  • monitor the controls you put in place to make sure they are working as you expected

If you have 5 or more employees, you are required to record your risk assessment. You can use the risk assessment templates provided by HSE. If you have fewer than 5 workers you do not have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment, but you may find it helpful to do so.

Consult your workers

You should include your workers in this process. 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.

If there are recognised trade union health and safety representatives who represent your workers, you must consult them. If any of your workers are not represented by trade union representatives, you can either consult those workers directly or a representative they have chosen. You cannot decide who the representative will be.

Raising concerns

Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues.

You should let your employees know that they can tell you if they’re worried about any workplace risks. They can also contact their employee representative or their trade union (if they have one).

Employees can also contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) if they have concerns.

They can submit a working safely enquiry form or contact HSE’s COVID-19 enquiries team on 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.

Local authority powers - public health

Local authorities have temporary powers to help them to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means they can place restrictions on a business if there is a serious and imminent threat to public health because of COVID-19. This could mean limiting the number of people who can attend an event, changing the way a venue operates to reduce the risk of transmission or prohibiting an event from happening.

These powers can only be used where they are necessary to protect public health. The measures imposed by the local authority must be a proportionate way to secure that protection. They cannot be used to place blanket restrictions on types of events or venues. See the guidance on local authority powers to impose restrictions for more information.

Event organisers can find more advice on working with local authorities in the section on event planning.

Managing risk

To carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, you should consider all the different ways the virus can be spread (aerosols, droplets and surfaces) and put in place measures that work together to reduce the risk of transmission.

To identify the most effective and appropriate actions for your workplace, think about the transmission types that present the greatest risk in your workplace and the actions that would help you to reduce the risks. This will depend on the nature of your business (including the size and type of workplace), and how it’s organised, operated, managed and regulated.

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.

If you are organising events, you should also consider the risk factors identified by the Events Research Programme when undertaking risk assessments for your event or venue. Read the additional risk guidance for events.

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.

You should ensure that your risk assessment can explain the actions you are taking and why they have been chosen. You should monitor any measures you put in place to make sure they continue to protect customers and workers, and update your risk assessment if needed.

What to include in your risk assessment

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 containing the virus that causes COVID-19. These particles can be breathed in by another person as aerosols or droplets.

  • You can reduce aerosol (airborne) transmission by ensuring the workplace is well-ventilated. This could mean increasing natural ventilation by letting in fresh air, increasing mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, and using outdoor space where possible. It’s important to identify poorly ventilated spaces that are usually occupied and improve fresh air flow in these areas. Read more about ventilation.

  • You can reduce droplet transmission by putting in place measures which reduce contact between people who do not normally mix. This could mean placing screens or barriers between people who will come into close proximity to each other, reducing the amount of time involved in customer-facing activities, or thinking about whether you can organise your teams or arrange your workplace in a different way. Read about reducing contact for workers and managing customers, crowds and events.

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

  • You can reduce surface transmission by keeping your workplace clean (particularly surfaces that people touch regularly), providing hand sanitiser and encouraging good hygiene behaviours such as regular handwashing. Read more about cleaning and hygiene.

Your risk assessment should also include:

  • How you will reduce the risk of COVID-19 cases being brought into your workplace, by asking staff and customers who feel unwell not to attend. Remember that you 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) – this is the law. See more on people who need to self-isolate and how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your workplace.
  • What you will do if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace. This should include an up-to-date plan for managing cases or outbreaks, with a member of staff as the single point of contact who will contact local public health teams. See more on COVID-19 cases in the workplace.
  • How you will manage the risks that could be caused by periods of closure. If your building is unoccupied or has reduced occupancy, you should take steps to manage any risks that could arise when reopening. Read 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. See more on supporting your workers.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Additional risk guidance for events

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. 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.

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. See the section on managing large events for more information. You may also find relevant advice in the section on managing customers, crowds and events.

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 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 180 days (and after the 10-day isolation period).

Consider asking your workers to get tested regularly. Regular testing could help to identify more positive cases of COVID-19, and reduce the risk of it spreading in your workplace.

Use rapid lateral flow testing to help manage periods of high risk.

  • Workers may wish to take a rapid lateral flow test before periods of high risk. This will help to detect any cases of COVID-19 when people are infectious but are not displaying symptoms, and reduce the chances of the virus spreading in your workplace.
  • You can encourage workers to take tests. You can also provide tests to workers or offer to test them at your workplace test site, if you have one (see above for more information on workplace testing).
  • Periods of high risk include times when they are in crowded and enclosed areas, (where there are more people who might be infectious and there is limited fresh air), and before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19.
    • For example, you may want to encourage workers to take a test before and after they work at a crowded event.

Going to the workplace

The government is no longer asking people to work from home if they can.

You should now talk to your employees to agree arrangements to return to the workplace, consulting with workers and trade unions where appropriate. You should remain responsive to workers’ needs and consult with them on any health and safety measures you have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading, giving extra consideration to people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and to workers facing mental and physical health difficulties.

When considering working arrangements, employers should take into account their other existing legal obligations.

When considering workers’ return to 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.

People who need to self-isolate

Workers who are required to self-isolate should not come to the workplace. This includes people who:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19
  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

Workers who receive a positive COVID-19 test result (through a PCR or rapid lateral flow test) must complete their full self-isolation period. They must also self-isolate if they are informed by NHS Test and Trace that they are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, unless they are exempt from this requirement (for example, because they are fully vaccinated). Read more about who needs to self-isolate.

Read the guidance on NHS Test and Trace in the workplace for more information.

It is against the law for you to allow someone to come to work if you know they are required to self-isolate.

What you should do

Make sure your workers are aware of what to do if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

  • People who have COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change to their sense of taste or smell) should not come to the workplace. If any of your workers have COVID-19 symptoms, they should self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test, even if these symptoms are mild.
  • If someone has symptoms or tests positive at your workplace, follow the steps in COVID-19 cases in your workplace.

Do not ask or encourage someone who is required to self-isolate to come to the workplace.

  • If you know that a worker is required to self-isolate, you must not allow them to come into work or work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (usually their home) for their full self-isolation period. This is the law, and you can be fined if you break it.
  • Read the guidance on NHS Test and Trace in the workplace for advice on what to do if you or someone you employ is required to self-isolate. This includes being contacted by NHS Test and Trace, self-isolation rules and financial support.
  • Workers who are unable to work because they have COVID-19 or need to self-isolate may be entitled to statutory sick pay.

Encourage staff members who are unwell with other illnesses to stay at home.

  • If staff members feel unwell but do not have COVID-19 symptoms (or their test is negative), staying at home until they feel better could reduce the risk of passing on an illness to colleagues.
  • Read more information on staying at home if you feel unwell.

Who needs to self-isolate?

People who are legally required to self-isolate must follow the guidance on self-isolation, even if they have no symptoms and/or are fully vaccinated.

It is against the law for you to knowingly allow someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.

People are required to self-isolate if they:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19 
  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

They are required to self-isolate for 10 full days from the day their symptoms started, or from the day their test was taken if they do not have symptoms (day 0). However, it could be longer in some circumstances (for example, if they develop symptoms during their self-isolation). NHS Test and Trace will tell them when they can stop self-isolating. You can find more information in the guidance on how to self-isolate and how NHS Test and Trace works.

People can stop self-isolating earlier (from day 6) if they have 2 negative results on rapid lateral flow tests taken on consecutive days. The first rapid lateral flow test should not be taken before day 5 of their self-isolation period. They should only end their self-isolation after they have had 2 negative results to tests taken on consecutive days. They can stop testing after they have had 2 consecutive negative test results.

The self-isolation period remains 10 full days for those without negative results from two consecutive rapid lateral flow tests taken a day apart. This is the law, regardless of whether you have been vaccinated.

People who are identified as a contact

NHS Test and Trace may tell people to self-isolate if they are in contact with someone who tests positive. A contact is someone they live with, or have been close to (for example, face-to-face interactions, or spending time within a certain distance of them). Read about what is meant by a contact.

NHS Test and Trace will decide whether someone is a contact based on the information they are given by the person who tests positive. People identified as a contact are required to self-isolate, unless they are fully vaccinated, or are exempt from this requirement for another reason (such as their age).

People who are fully vaccinated or exempt:

  • People who are fully vaccinated are not required to self-isolate if they are identified as a contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19. People are also exempt from this requirement if they are aged under 18 and 6 months, are part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial, or are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons. Read more about exemptions and who qualifies as fully vaccinated. However, they are strongly advised to take a rapid lateral flow test every day for 7 days (or until 10 days have passed since their last contact with the person who tested positive, if this is earlier). Where possible, they should take this daily lateral flow test before they leave their home for the first time that day.
  • They may also be advised to consider taking precautions until 10 days after their most recent contact with the positive case, such as limiting close contact with people outside their household (especially in enclosed areas).
  • If any of the lateral flow tests are positive, they should report their result and self-isolate. They do not need to take a PCR test to confirm the result.

People who are not fully vaccinated or exempt:

  • People who are not fully vaccinated or exempt are legally required to self-isolate if they are a contact of a positive case of COVID-19. They will be informed of this by NHS Test and Trace.
  • They must self-isolate for the full isolation period, even if they have one or more negative tests during this time.

Find out more about when to self-isolate.

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 or event.

This should be set out in your risk register, and should include the following factors.

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

  • 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).
  • Ensure that workers are aware that they should not come to the workplace if they have symptoms or need to self-isolate. Read more about who needs to self-isolate.
  • Take steps to ensure that customers who have symptoms or who need to self-isolate do not attend your facility. Read more about communicating with customers.

What you will do if COVID-19 symptoms are reported.

  • If a staff member has COVID-19 symptoms, they should self-isolate and get a test, even if these symptoms are mild. People with COVID-19 symptoms can get a free NHS test.
  • You should immediately identify any close workplace contacts and ask them to self-isolate and take a test. You should not wait for NHS Test and Trace to contact them. This prompt action will help reduce the risk of a workplace outbreak.
  • If you become aware that a customer has suspected or confirmed COVID-19, follow the advice on people with COVID-19 coming to your workplace.

Register the cases with public health and self-isolation teams.

  • Inform your local authority’s public health team if you have confirmed cases of COVID-19 in your workplace. The local authority public health team will give you information about any actions you should take.
  • You can also call the Self-Isolation Service Hub (020 3743 6715) to register the case. See the box below for advice on contacting the Self-Isolation Service Hub and what you will need to tell them. 
  • Where possible, nominate one member of staff to contact public health teams. Having one person as the ‘single point of contact’ can help you to make sure you have the information you need, and that public health teams know who to contact.
  • In some circumstances the local authority public health team might declare an ‘outbreak’. This is when there are 2 or more cases and it’s possible they may have been spread at your workplace.
  • If an outbreak is declared:
    • 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.

Ensure your facility is thoroughly cleaned.

Think about using rapid lateral flow testing to help manage periods of risk.

  • Workers who are not close contacts may also want to take tests to check if they have been exposed to the virus.
  • You can encourage workers to take tests. You can also provide tests to workers or offer to test them at your workplace test site, if you have one. Read more about COVID-19 tests.

Call the Self-Isolation Service Hub to report COVID-19 cases in your workplace.

If one of your workers tests positive, you can call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 to register the case.

You will need to provide:

  • the 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes referred to as a CTAS number) of the person who tested positive. If they do not already know this, ask them to provide this when they have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • the names of any other workers you have identified as close contacts.

This will ensure that all workplace contacts are registered with NHS Test and Trace and can receive health advice and support to help them to self-isolate if required.

Your workers may already have been in contact with NHS Test and Trace, but may not be able to provide all the details they need. For example, they may not be able to identify or provide details of other workers they were in contact with (such as temporary workers, contractors or staff working irregular shift patterns), or know how to reach colleagues who may be required to isolate.

How to identify whether workers are close contacts of a positive case

A close contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Read guidance on contacts of people who have tested positive.

Identify the times when they could have passed the virus on to other workers.

  • Ask the worker who tested positive when they developed symptoms.
  • The times they could have passed on the virus start from 2 days before this and until 10 days afterwards.

Identify who has been in close contact with the worker who tested positive.

  • You can do a risk assessment, or ask other workers if they have been in contact with the person who tested positive during this time.
  • A contact can be someone who lives with the worker who tested positive, travelled in the same vehicle or plane as the worker who tested positive, or had the following kind of contact with them:
    • face-to-face contact including being coughed on
    • a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    • been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
    • been within 2 metres of them for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)

They should be registered as a contact if they have been in these situations anytime from 2 days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms, and up to 10 days after.

If your workers use the NHS COVID-19 app, this may also help them to understand if they are close contacts. More information and resources on the NHS COVID-19 app.

Reducing contact for workers

There are no government requirements or recommendations for employers to limit capacity in the workplace, or on contact between people from different households.

If, based on setting-specific risk assessments, employers decide to reduce contact in particular circumstances, they may want to consider the following mitigations:

  • Designating seating (for example in offices) for specific teams, or using fixed teams, partnering or cohorting, so each person works with the same consistent person or group.
  • Where space and capacity allow, giving preference to back-to-back or side-to-side working between cohorts or fixed teams who don’t normally mix.
  • Using screens or barriers to separate people who don’t normally mix (for example between workers and customers).
    • Screens are only likely to be beneficial if placed between people who come into close face-to-face proximity with each other, and may not be practical between desks in a side-to-side office setting.
    • Screens may be helpful for staff who work with large numbers of guests, for example at a ticket office or box office.
  • Keeping customer-facing activity as short as possible, particularly for staff who work with large numbers of guests.

You should consider the need for these mitigations in the context of other COVID-19 workplace measures (such as ventilation and regular cleaning of surfaces) you have put in place. They should only be applied where it is practical. For example, where they could be used without imposing restrictions on business operations or reducing workplace capacity.

Supporting and communicating with workers

When applying this guidance, be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals. Consider the impact of your policies on your workers.

It’s against the law to discriminate against anyone because of their age, sex, disability, race or other ‘protected characteristic’. Read the government guidance on discrimination.

As an employer, you have particular responsibilities towards disabled customers, disabled workers and workers who are pregnant or are new mothers. See the COVID-19 advice for pregnant employees. You might also have other workers who are at higher risk and for whom additional precautions advised by their clinicians should be considered. Read HSE guidance on protecting vulnerable workers.

What you should do

  • 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.
  • Involve and communicate appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or might make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them.
  • Discuss with disabled workers what reasonable adjustments can be made to the workplace so they can work safely, and to avoid them being put at a disadvantage.
  • Assess the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.
  • Consider how any safety measures you put in place will affect staff with protected characteristics, and any adjustments you should make to take account of your duties under the equalities legislation.
  • 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.
  • Give extra consideration to people who are at greater risk of infection or more likely to get seriously ill if they catch COVID-19. You should continue to support these workers by discussing with them their individual needs and supporting them in taking any additional precautions advised by their clinicians.    
  • Give extra consideration to workers facing mental and physical health difficulties. Consider providing support for workers around mental health and wellbeing. This could include advice or telephone support.
  • You may also wish to refer to any relevant guidance produced by your sector, such as the 7 Inclusive Principles for Arts & Cultural Organisations.

Reducing risk to customers

In this section:

Communicating with customers

It’s important to make sure your staff and customers understand what they should do to prevent spreading COVID-19 at your venue or event. Make sure you tell them any important information about safety measures before they book tickets or arrive.

Make sure customers know how to visit your facility 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.
    • If you ask or recommend that people wear face coverings in your venue or event (for example, in areas that are crowded and enclosed), make sure you communicate this clearly to customers. For example, you could put up signs at entrances to your venue or event, or let customers know in advance (for example, through your advertising and when booking) if there are areas where face coverings should be worn. Read more about face coverings.
  • Ensure you make any requirements clear to customers before booking, and at the point of sale.
    • If you choose to use COVID-19 status checks at your venue or event, make sure customers are informed that they will need to show the relevant evidence (such as their NHS COVID Pass) in order to enter. If this is likely to mean a longer wait to enter the venue, you could also advise customers to arrive earlier. Read more about COVID-19 status checks.
  • 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 in the section on event communications

Reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your workplace.

You should take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading at your facility, or events you hold. Protect your workers and customers by reducing the risk that someone with COVID-19 will come to your facility.

You can display an NHS QR code so that customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app. This will help NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus. If you hold events where large crowds gather, or people are likely to mix in close contact at your venue, you may choose to check the COVID-19 status of attendees and workers, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 being transmitted at your venue or event.

What you should do

Make sure people know they should not visit your venue or event if they have:

  • COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, new and persistent cough, or a loss or change in taste or smell), even if these are mild
  • recently tested positive for COVID-19
  • been told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace.

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

  • If a customer, guest or visitor arrives at your facility or event with symptoms, they should not be admitted.
  • If you become aware of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 on-site, the customer 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 follow the guidance on testing and self-isolation.
  • In some facilities or events, it may be possible to assess the customer on-site.
    • The customer should be assessed as soon as possible (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 follow the guidance on testing and self-isolation.

Do not rely on temperature screening or disinfectants as a risk mitigation.

Consider displaying an NHS QR code so that customers can check in to your venue or event.

  • You can choose to display an NHS QR code so that customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app.
    • You are not required to display an NHS QR code, to collect customer contact details, or keep a record of your staff and visitors.
    • However, allowing customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app will help NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus.
  • If you choose to display an NHS QR code, you do not have to ask customers to check in, or turn them away if they refuse. However, 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. Read about how to keep records for NHS Test and Trace.

Consider using COVID-19 status checks to reduce the risk of transmission at your venue or event.

  • You are not required to check the COVID-19 status of your customers, visitors or workers.
  • However, if you hold events where large crowds gather, or people are likely to mix in close contact at your venue, you should consider asking people to demonstrate their COVID-19 status. This will reduce the risk of COVID-19 being spread at your venue or event.
    • You should consider how COVID-19 status checks fit with your legal obligations, such as health and safety and equalities legislation.
  • Read the section on COVID-19 status checks for more information about how you can manage this at your venue or event, including guidance on how to check NHS COVID Passes and managing crowds.

Managing customers, crowds and events

Think about how you can reduce risks to customers, for example by reducing unnecessary contact. If your venue gets very busy, or you have a lot of customers at the same time, you should think about ways to reduce the risk of crowding. The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is higher in crowded places, especially if they are indoors.

The types of measures which are appropriate will depend on your venue and the type of activities your business does, so you should think about the most appropriate steps you could take to manage risk.

What you should do

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 any events you hold. For example, if you are hosting 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.

Think about what is right for your venue.

  • This may mean using a combination of different measures in different areas of your venue, or at different times. For example, thinking about how to manage queues outside the venue and around food and drink stalls, and using stewards and assigned seating to reduce crowding inside the performance area.
  • 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 event planning, including advice on managing large 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. For example, if you are holding events in a historic building like a stately home or castle, make sure your safety measures don’t damage the building. Read the section on heritage locations for advice on safety measures in heritage locations (including consent and planning permission). You can also read Historic England’s guidance on reopening a heritage location.

Think about how you can reduce congestion in your venue.

  • Use your risk register to identify any areas of your venue which can get crowded, and think about ways to reduce this. For example, you could use one-way systems to avoid people being held up at doorways.
  • Think about how you can reduce the need for people to stand in queues.
    • Encouraging people to book tickets in advance can help to reduce queues at box offices and ticket collection points. You can also stagger arrival and leaving times to reduce queues at lifts and stairwells.
  • If bars, concession stands and toilet facilities get crowded, think about whether you can provide more facilities, or arrange them differently (for example, using one-way systems).
    • Think about whether you can make changes to food and drink service to avoid crowding, for example by making sure people take food and drink to a separate seating area or serving people more quickly (e.g. by using more staff at busy times).

Manage your guests to reduce crowding.

  • Think about how audiences arrive and leave. If you have a lot of people arriving or leaving at the same time, using multiple entrances and exits or one-way systems can help to reduce crowding.
    • Large events may want to take extra steps (such as using stewards or dividing the audience into different zones). Read the section on managing large events for advice on ways to manage large crowds.
  • If you have auditoriums and theatre-style seating, you can reduce the risk of crowding by providing allocated seating, where possible.
    • If you provide allocated seating, make sure your seating plan takes into account the needs of wheelchair users and people with disabilities (and their carers). If you offer any other accessibility services (such as captioning or audio description), make sure people who need them are in seats with access to these services.
    • Where allocated seating is not possible, think about other ways to reduce crowds building up. For example, you could use extra stewards to help direct people to their seats.

Think about the risk of crowds in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas.

  • The risk of COVID-19 transmission in a crowded area will be higher if it is enclosed or has limited ventilation.
  • Think about how you can reduce the risk by improving the ventilation (read more about ventilation) or limit the number of people using the room or area to avoid overcrowding.
  • You could ask people to arrive at different times or use tickets for certain time periods to manage the number of people attending. You could also put a capacity limit on your venue or certain areas or rooms, to make sure they do not get overcrowded. For example:
    • If your venue has a shared lounge or recreation room which is indoors and hasn’t got very good ventilation, you could put a capacity limit on the room. If it is very popular, you could put time limits on people using it, or ask customers to book in when they are likely to use it.
    • If your venue is a historic building, there may be areas which make it difficult to reduce the risk of transmission if they are crowded (e.g. areas with small rooms, narrow staircases and not many entrances and exits). You could stagger arrival times or set a capacity limit and count people in and out, to make sure customers can see the area safely without the risk of overcrowding.
  • You may also want to ask or recommend that people wear face coverings in areas of your venue or event that are crowded and enclosed. Read more about face coverings.

Take extra care with large events and very crowded venues.

  • If you are holding large events or your venue often becomes very crowded, you should take additional steps to manage guests and reduce the risk of crowding.
  • Research has found that there are some factors which increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission at events. This includes events which are indoors (or have indoor areas), have a large number of attendees, include people moving around during the event (rather than sitting in one place), and are likely to include crowding or congested areas in the venue.
  • If your event or venue has one or more of these risk factors, you should take extra care to reduce the risk of transmission. Read the section on managing large events for advice on ways to manage large crowds, such as stewarding, zoning and timed ticketing.
  • If you choose to use COVID-19 status checks at your venue or event, read the section on COVID-19 status checks for advice on how you can communicate with attendees and manage queues and crowds.

Managing your facility

In this section:

Cleaning

Keeping your workplace clean will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Surfaces and objects can be contaminated with COVID-19 when people who are infected touch them or cough or sneeze near them.

Think about how you can reduce this risk by cleaning your workplace regularly, and paying particular attention to surfaces or objects that people touch frequently.

What you should do

Review your cleaning schedule.

  • Make sure you are regularly cleaning all areas of your facility with your usual cleaning products.
  • Make a checklist of priority areas (such as bathrooms, door handles and surfaces) to be cleaned when guests vacate.

Clean some areas more frequently. You should consider:

  • Surfaces that people touch regularly, like door handles, lift buttons and handrails.
  • Shared equipment and objects, such as microphones used by speakers at events - clean them between users where this is practical.
  • Places that are used frequently, like reception areas.
  • Areas used by multiple groups of guests, like lounges,common areas and shared recreation rooms.
  • Toilet and bathroom facilities - set clear guidance for staff and customers on using and cleaning bathroom facilities. Make sure that surfaces like taps, hand-dryers and door handles are regularly cleaned. Put up a cleaning schedule that staff and guests can see, and keep it updated. Make sure that higher-risk facilities like portable toilets, large toilet blocks and shared guest bathrooms are thoroughly cleaned.

Large venues and events should take extra care. Think about whether you should:

  • Clean the venue thoroughly, before and after the event.
  • Clean surfaces touched regularly (such as door handles and handrails) during the event, particularly if you expect a large number of guests.
  • Where possible, organise your event so that audience areas (such as meeting rooms and seating in auditoriums) are cleaned between use by different customers. For example, cleaning seating areas between theatre performances or elite sport competitions.
  • Reduce the need for crowding in or around toilet facilities. If there are crowded areas, you could try implementing one-way systems
  • Provide additional waste facilities, including closed bins, and ensure rubbish is collected frequently.

If you are cleaning after a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, follow the guidance on COVID-19 cleaning and decontamination. Rooms that have been used by people who have (or may have) COVID-19 should be cleaned carefully and thoroughly.

You may need to provide cleaners with protective equipment and PPE to protect their eyes, mouth and nose, when cleaning areas where there is a greater risk of exposure to the virus. Read about protective equipment and PPE.

Guidance 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

One of the most effective ways for people to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading is washing their hands regularly. Think about how you can promote good hygiene in your workplace, and make sure your messages reach people who have difficulty with their sight or hearing.

What you should do

Provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser for staff and customers. This could mean that you:

  • Provide hand sanitiser near shared facilities, equipment and objects, like reception desks and touch-screen devices.
  • Hand sanitiser stations can be helpful in busy areas like entrance foyers, doorways, lifts and bathroom facilities. If you have a large venue or event site, think about placing them at the entrances of different buildings or areas. For example, at the entrance and exit of theme park attractions and rides.
  • Consider the needs of people with disabilities. Make sure that hand sanitiser stations can be reached by people in wheelchairs and don’t block access or fire exits.
  • Check handwashing and hand sanitiser facilities regularly and make sure they are cleaned and refilled.

Use signs and posters to promote good hygiene, making people aware:

  • How to wash their hands effectively.
  • That they should wash their hands frequently.
  • That they should avoid touching their faces or face coverings.
  • That they should cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into their arm if a tissue is not available.

Provide additional guidance for staff on hygiene and safety. This could mean that you:

  • Provide regular reminders to staff (for example, in break rooms and bathrooms) to wash or sanitise their hands, particularly after contact with guests.
  • Make sure cleaners and housekeeping staff have time and facilities to wash their hands after cleaning rooms and items that guests have touched.
  • This is particularly important after cases of suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Read the guidance on COVID-19 cleaning and decontamination for more information.

Ventilation

Ventilation plays an important role in reducing the risk of aerosol (airborne) transmission of COVID-19. Use your risk assessment to think about:

  • How to make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in your workplace. This is particularly important for indoor spaces where there are people present. Read about improving ventilation.
  • Finding out if there are areas of your workplace which don’t have enough ventilation, and how you can improve fresh air flow in these areas. Read about poorly ventilated spaces.

Improving ventilation

Good ventilation brings fresh air into indoor spaces. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the more it will dilute any virus particles in the air. In spaces which don’t have enough ventilation, virus particles can remain in the air after an infected person has left and increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Watch a video from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which explains how ventilation reduces the risk of transmission.

Make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in your workplace. This can be natural ventilation (opening windows, doors and vents), mechanical ventilation (fans and ducts), or a combination of both. It’s particularly important to keep toilets and showers well-ventilated, as these can be areas of higher risk.

How to improve natural ventilation

  • Open doors, windows and air vents where possible.
  • Opening doors and windows even for a brief period can help to refresh the air and reduce COVID-19 particles.
  • Opening the windows and doors fully will let the most fresh air into the space.
  • Encourage people to use outside space where it’s practical, especially for higher-risk activities such as exercise, or when people are singing or raising their voices.

How to improve mechanical ventilation

  • Make sure that your systems are set to maximise fresh air and minimise air recirculation.
  • It’s not advised to recirculate air from one space to another. Systems which recirculate air from one space to another are likely to increase the risk of transmission.
  • Recirculation units that do not bring in fresh air can remain in operation as long as there is an alternative supply of fresh air.

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.

Ventilation and workplace temperature

Providing adequate ventilation does not mean people have to work in an uncomfortably cold workplace.

There are steps you can take to make sure your workplace is adequately ventilated without being too cold, such as partially opening windows and doors and opening higher-level windows.

Read HSE advice on balancing ventilation with keeping warm.

Identify and manage poorly ventilated spaces

It’s important to find out if there are poorly ventilated areas of your workplace that are usually occupied by people (workers or customers), so you can increase the flow of fresh air.

How to identify poorly ventilated spaces

  • Look for areas where people are usually present for an extended period of time, and where there is no mechanical ventilation and no natural ventilation (such as open windows, vents or doors).
  • Use a carbon dioxide (CO2) monitor to measure the level of ventilation (see below for more information). In an an area or room people are using, an average CO2 concentration of above 1500ppm indicates that it is poorly ventilated.
  • You should take action to improve ventilation where CO2 readings are consistently higher than 1500ppm.

Consider factors which may increase the risk

  • In a poorly ventilated space, the risk of COVID-19 transmission will increase where there are more virus particles being released into the air.
  • When identifying poorly ventilated spaces, you should pay particular attention to areas of high occupancy (which are used by a larger number of people) and which are used for extended periods of time, as these factors will increase the risk of transmission.
  • You should also consider how the space is used. 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.
  • Where there is continuous talking or singing, or high levels of physical activity (such as dancing, playing sport or exercise), providing ventilation sufficient to keep CO2 levels below 800ppm is recommended.

What you should do

If your risk assessment shows that there are poorly ventilated areas in your workplace, it’s important that you improve the ventilation to reduce the risk of COVID-19 being spread in these areas.

Follow the steps above to improve ventilation by opening doors, windows and vents, if possible, and by ensuring that any mechanical ventilation system is set to maximise fresh air and minimise air recirculation.

If these options are not available or do not provide sufficient ventilation (for example, if CO2 readings remain above recommended levels, or the room continues to feel stuffy), you can think about other ways to reduce the risk in these spaces.

Think about changing the way these spaces are used. For example, you could:

  • Restrict the number of people who can use the space at the same time.
  • Restrict the length of time people spend in the space.
  • Move activities which involve exercising, dancing or raising voices (singing, shouting or talking loudly) to an area with better ventilation.

Think about ways to increase mechanical ventilation.

  • Ask a ventilation engineer to check the performance of your mechanical ventilation system, especially if it hasn’t been serviced recently.
  • Install a mechanical ventilation system, if you don’t have mechanical ventilation or if the existing system does not provide fresh air.
  • Install an air cleaning or filtration unit. Air cleaning or filtration is not a substitute for good ventilation. But where poor ventilation cannot be improved in other ways, a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or ultraviolet air purifier could help to reduce the number of COVID-19 particles in the air. Read HSE’s advice on air cleaning and filtration devices.

Using carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors to identify poorly ventilated spaces

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 rather than treating them as safe thresholds.

Outdoor levels are around 400ppm (parts per million of carbon dioxide). Indoors, a consistent CO2 value less than 800ppm is likely to indicate that a space is well-ventilated.

A CO2 concentration of above 1500ppm when a room is occupied 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.

Read HSE advice on the suitability of CO2 monitoring in different types of space. Where CO2 monitors cannot be used, you should still identify poorly ventilated spaces and provide adequate ventilation.

Face coverings

COVID-19 is transmitted when an infected person breathes out droplets and aerosols. They can spread through the air and onto surfaces (and people’s hands and belongings) to infect others. Face coverings can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the spread of droplets and aerosols.

People are not legally required to wear face coverings in England. However, it is suggested that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces, where they may come into contact with others they do not normally meet.

Where face coverings are worn correctly, this can reduce the risk of transmission. Read the face coverings guidance for more information on what makes a good face covering, and how to wear one.

Businesses can ask or encourage customers, visitors or workers to wear face coverings at their venue or event. Customers, visitors or staff may choose to wear face coverings in any setting. Read the face coverings guidance for more information.

What you should do

Consider encouraging customers, visitors and workers to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed areas of your venue or event.

  • You could consider recommending the use of face coverings at your venue or event, particularly in crowded and enclosed areas where people may come into contact with others they do not normally meet. This can help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at your venue or event.
  • This is particularly important if your venue or event includes enclosed and crowded spaces, where the risk of transmission is higher.
  • You can also choose to ask customers, visitors and workers to wear face coverings, as your own venue’s or event’s policy.
  • Be aware that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Make sure that you and your staff are mindful and respectful of people’s circumstances.
    • Some people may choose to carry an exemption card or badge to show that they cannot wear a face covering. This is a personal choice and is not required by law.
  • Remember that you should not ask people to wear face coverings while they are taking part in any strenuous activity or sport.

If you ask or encourage people to wear face coverings in your venue or event:

  • You must make sure you comply with equalities law, and health and safety legislation.
  • You need to consider the reasonable adjustments that may be needed for workers and customers with disabilities.
    • Face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound, so think about how you can help staff and customers to communicate effectively.
    • Transparent face coverings may also be helpful for people who communicate through lip-reading or facial expressions.
  • If you’re asking workers to wear face coverings, you should check that this complies with employment law and your workers’ contracts, as well as equalities law and health and safety legislation.
    • If a worker tells you they are unable to wear a face covering, you should be respectful of their circumstances.
  • Think about how you can inform your customers, visitors and workers, using signs and other communications.
    • For example, you could put up signs at entrances to your venue or event (or certain areas) to tell customers that face coverings are recommended.
    • You could also let customers know in advance (for example, through your advertising and when booking) if there are areas where face coverings should be worn, or ask workers to remind customers.

Remember that your customers, visitors and workers may choose to wear face coverings in your facility.

  • Customers, visitors and workers can choose to wear face coverings in any setting.
  • Your workers may choose to wear face coverings in the workplace even if you do not ask or encourage them to wear them. You should support your workers if they choose to wear face coverings, and ensure they are aware of the guidance on using face coverings safely.

Additional protection and personal protective equipment (PPE)

In some types of work, the risk of COVID-19 transmission is higher. It may be necessary to provide some workers with different types of protective equipment, because the risk of COVID-19 spreading is higher when people are in close contact with others or have to be in a contaminated area.

This is not the same as personal protective equipment (PPE), which means specific types of equipment needed to protect people who work in higher-risk settings. Read more about PPE regulations and standards.

Consider whether some workers need additional protection.

  • Read the guidance for close contact services and use your risk assessment to think about whether some workers should take additional precautions, such as wearing face coverings or other protective equipment like gloves. This will not apply to most staff, but may be needed for some people if there is a higher risk of infection in the work they do.
  • If your facility or event includes staff who work in close contact with their customers (such as security staff, beauty therapists, hairdressers and massage therapists), you may decide that clients and/or staff should wear face coverings (or other protective equipment such as gloves) because the risk of COVID-19 spreading is higher when people are in close contact with others.
  • This is not the same as PPE, which means specific types of equipment needed to protect people who work in higher-risk settings.

Consider through your risk assessment whether your workers need PPE.

  • PPE is mainly used in healthcare and social care, and is not usually required for workers in most other types of business.
  • Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should keep doing so.
  • It is unlikely that PPE will be required in most workplaces, and should not be used as a general precaution. However it may be required in some circumstances where the risk of COVID-19 spreading is very high, for example for staff work in potentially contaminated areas (such as cleaners). See the box below for more information on cleaning after a case (or possible case) of COVID-19.
  • If your risk assessment shows that PPE is required for some workers, you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Make sure that the PPE you provide fits properly, or it will not be as effective in reducing risk to your workers.

Take additional care when cleaning after a confirmed case of COVID-19.

  • If any of your staff work in potentially contaminated areas (such as cleaners and housekeeping staff), you may need to provide them with additional protective equipment or personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • It is not necessary to wear PPE for general cleaning. However, if staff are cleaning after someone who has (or may have) COVID-19 has been to your facility, they will need additional protection because the risk is higher in a contaminated area.
    • You should provide aprons and disposable gloves for people who are cleaning after a case (or possible case) of COVID-19.
  • This is particularly important if they have to clean a room that someone with COVID-19 has been using for an extended period of time, such as an enclosed meeting room, as the level of virus particles in the room could be very high.
    • You may need to provide cleaners with additional PPE to protect their eyes, mouth and nose in these areas.
  • Read the guidance on COVID-19 cleaning and decontamination for more information.

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. Read the section on communicating with customers for more advice.
  • 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 facilities. 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 in 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 facilities

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 should follow any relevant advice in this guidance. 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 can help to reduce the transmission 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.

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 risk guidance 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 actions can help you to reduce these risks.
  • Read the section on managing customers, crowds and events and consider how best to manage your customers based on your risk assessment. For example, you could put in place crowd management measures if your event involves large numbers of attendees. See the section below on managing large events for crowd management advice.
  • Make sure your risk assessment includes what you will do if an attendee has (or may have) COVID-19.
    • Review the advice on what you should do if a customer reports symptoms (see reducing risk to customers and your plan for managing COVID-19 cases in the workplace, and make sure your event planning includes appropriate levels of medical coverage.
    • Elite sport events 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.
  • 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.

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

  • If you are not the venue owner/operator, or you are hiring a venue for your event, discuss ventilation and cleaning with the venue operator. Make sure 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. Read the guidance for elite sport for more information.

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.

Think about how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your venue or event.

  • You may want to display an NHS QR code poster so that customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app. This will help NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus. Read more about NHS QR codes.
  • If there will be large crowds at your event, or people are likely to mix in close contact, you may also want to check the COVID-19 status of attendees and workers, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 being transmitted at your event. Read more about COVID-19 status checks.
  • You may also want to ask or recommend that people wear face coverings in areas of your event that are crowded and enclosed. Read more about face coverings.

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 signs and audio announcements) supports the communication of any relevant safety measures.
  • Read more about event communications.

Make sure that your event takes place in line with relevant guidance.

Event communications

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 use an attendee code of behaviour to reinforce messaging.

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

  • Make sure that any relevant requirements or conditions of entry and requirements (such as the COVID-19 status checks or negative test requirements) are well-communicated at the point of sale.
    • If you choose to use COVID-19 status checks at your venue or event, make sure customers are informed that they will need to show the relevant evidence (such as their NHS COVID Pass) in order to enter. If this is likely to mean a longer wait to enter the venue, you could also advise customers to arrive earlier. Read more about COVID-19 status checks.
    • If you ask or recommend that people wear face coverings (for example, in areas of your venue or event that are crowded and enclosed), you may want to let customers know in advance, through your advertising and when booking.
  • Your pre-event communications should alert customers not to travel to, or attend, events if they have COVID-19 symptoms. You should remind customers that they should not attend if they are required to self-isolate.
  • You should provide attendees with information on safety measures (such as changes to the venue) and guidance they should follow.

Think about how you can communicate with customers 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.
  • If you ask or recommend that people wear face coverings (for example, in areas of your venue or event that are crowded and enclosed), think about how you can communicate this to your customers at your event.
    • For example, you could put up signs at entrances to your venue or event (or certain areas) to tell customers that face coverings are recommended, or ask staff to remind customers as they enter.

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, such as the safer travel guidance.
    • You may want to remind customers to follow the rules of their travel operator when travelling to your event or venue. Some transport operators may have different rules for travel, such as asking customers to wear face coverings at all times or when services are crowded.
    • 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. Attendees should be informed that if they have one or more of these symptoms (even if they are mild) they 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 or because they have had a positive test.
  • If you choose to check the COVID-19 status of attendees at your event, to demonstrate their COVID-19 status through the relevant evidence 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.

COVID-19 status checks for events

You are not required to check the COVID-19 status of your customers, visitors or workers at any venue or event.

However, if you hold events where large crowds gather, or people are likely to mix in close contact at your venue, you may choose to ask people to demonstrate their COVID-19 status. This will reduce the risk of COVID-19 being transmitted.

Read the guidance on carrying out COVID-19 status checks for more information.

What you should consider

Consider using COVID-19 status checks to reduce the risk of transmission, if you hold events where large crowds gather, or people are likely to mix in close contact at your venue.

  • COVID-19 status checks are no longer legally required. If you want to use COVID-19 status checks, you should consider how this fits with your legal obligations, such as health and safety and equalities legislation.
  • COVID-19 status checks are usually used to check that people are fully vaccinated, have recently recorded a negative test result, or are exempt from these requirements (for example because of their age, because they cannot get vaccinated or take tests for medical reasons, or because they have taken part in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine). Read the guidance on carrying out COVID-19 status checks for more information on what qualifies as fully vaccinated and recommended test evidence.
    • This can be checked using the NHS COVID Pass (and equivalent tools from the rest of the UK and some other countries), and verified using the NHS COVID Pass Verifier app (see below for more information).
    • As checking people’s COVID-19 status is no longer a legal requirement, you could decide to apply your own conditions for entry. However, if you use different requirements it may not be possible to check this using the NHS COVID Pass or the Verifier app. Each piece of evidence may have to be manually checked.
    • It is recommended that you do not accept proof of natural immunity (recent infection) as an alternative form of evidence.

If you want to check people’s COVID-19 status at your event:

  • It is recommended you ask attendees aged 18 and over to provide evidence of their COVID-19 status when entering your venue or event.
    • You should not ask people who are under 18 to show evidence of their COVID-19 status.
    • If an adult attendee fails to produce adequate proof of their COVID-19 status, you can choose not to allow them to enter your event or venue. You should consider how you will manage this if anyone tries to enter your event without providing appropriate evidence, and ensure the safety and security of all at the event.
  • You may also choose to ask workers at your venue or event (aged 18 and over) who come into contact with customers to provide evidence of their COVID-19 status.
    • Read the guidance on carrying out COVID-19 status checks for more information on how workers can get and use tests.
    • If an adult worker who you have asked to provide proof of COVID-19 status (e.g. a worker in a customer-facing role) fails to provide adequate proof of their COVID-19 status, you can choose not to allow them to work at your venue or event until they have provided this evidence.
  • You should not ask people attending your venue in an official capacity (such as local authority officers and emergency services responders) for proof of their COVID-19 status.
  • Read the guidance on carrying out COVID-19 status checks for more information.

Consider using the NHS COVID Pass (and equivalents) to check people’s COVID-19 status.

  • The NHS COVID Pass can be used to check that people who live in England are fully vaccinated, have recently recorded a negative test result or are exempt from these requirements. People from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey or Guernsey can show the equivalent COVID-19 status evidence, which is recognised in England.
  • You can use the free NHS COVID Pass Verifier app to scan NHS COVID Passes from England and the equivalent passes from the rest of the UK.
  • People who were vaccinated in another country can show alternative proof of vaccination if this is accepted at the UK border. Find out more about approved COVID-19 vaccinations in other countries. Some can be scanned in the same way as the NHS COVID Pass (such as the EU Digital COVID certificate), and some may need to be manually checked.
  • You should also think about the other types of evidence you will accept as proof of COVID-19 status.
    • Other forms of evidence which are not shown in the NHS COVID Pass should be manually checked.
    • For example, you could use a visual check to make sure that a text or email confirmation from NHS Test and Trace is valid. Read the guidance on carrying out COVID-19 status checks for more information on evidence of negative test results.

What you should do if you choose to use COVID-19 status checks

Make sure customers know what to expect when they visit your venue or event.

  • If you choose to use COVID-19 status checks at your event, you should communicate these entry requirements clearly to your customers and workers, so they know what they need to do and will be able to provide the evidence they need.
    • This could include notifying customers of the requirement to show their NHS COVID Pass, and give them information on how to meet this requirement (for example, by showing their NHS COVID Pass or equivalent, or bringing evidence of a recent negative test).
    • You may want to include that people who were vaccinated in another country can show alternative proof of vaccination if this is accepted at the UK border. Find out more about approved COVID-19 vaccinations in other countries.
    • You may want to inform attendees and workers that if they use testing to show their COVID-19 status, they are strongly advised to take tests as close as they can (in the previous 12 hours where possible) to the time they will attend your venue or event.
  • Communicate the requirements clearly to customers in advance of their visit, so they know what to expect when visiting your venue.
    • For example, you could do this by including the information on your website, in booking conditions and on tickets, and informing people who make enquiries or bookings over the phone. Where possible, tell them before they make a booking or payment.
    • You can also include this information on your website and in your digital marketing.

Think about how to manage your attendees to reduce crowding, especially if you are holding a large event.

  • If you choose to check your attendees’ COVID-19 status, this may add to the time it takes for attendees to enter your venue. Think about how you can reduce the time needed for this, by using the NHS COVID Pass Verifier app to scan people’s COVID Passes, and only using manual inspections where this is not possible.
  • Think about this as part of your crowd management planning (read about crowd management, and take extra steps to reduce the risk of crowds. For example, you could:
    • advise customers to arrive earlier, if it is likely to take longer than usual to enter the venue.
    • set up queueing systems and staggering arrival and departure times.
    • set up COVID-19 status check points away from entry points to reduce congestion.
  • Make sure attendees are aware of the evidence they will need to provide, and remind them to have their NHS COVID Pass (or alternative evidence) ready before they get to the checkpoint. For example, you could:
    • include this in your pre-event communications (read about pre-event communications.
    • display signs around entrances.
    • ask venue staff to remind attendees who are queuing to have their evidence ready.

Make sure data is kept securely and in line with data protection regulations.

  • Checking the COVID-19 status of your attendees and/or workers means you are handling people’s personal data. Remember that data protection legislation applies when you are processing personal data, including by using the NHS COVID Pass Verifier app or keeping records of workers that could identify them.
  • You must make sure these are handled securely and in line with data protection regulations (for example, making sure the data is kept confidential). You must not retain personal information from the NHS COVID Pass, such as an individual’s name or COVID-19 status.
  • Read the guidance on carrying out COVID-19 status checks for more information on keeping data secure

Managing large events

If you are holding events or large gatherings, you should take extra precautions to manage guests and reduce the risk of crowding.

Research has found that there are some factors which increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission at events. This includes events which:

  • take place indoors
  • take place outdoors, but also have indoor spaces
  • include congested areas
  • involve free movement between people
  • include crowd density
  • have a large number of attendees

If your event or venue has one or more of these risk factors, you should take extra care to reduce the risk of transmission, for example by putting in place crowd management measures if your event involves large numbers of attendees.

There are examples in the box below of the type of things you can do to manage crowds at your event. 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. You should also take into account the impact of measures on people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, who may require different support and interventions to other attendees.

Crowd management strategies

If your event involves large numbers of attendees, think about what you can do to reduce the risk of crowding. This is particularly important if large numbers of people may be moving at the same time, or there are congested areas in the venue (such as a limited number of entrances).

Crowd movement

  • When you are planning your event, think about ways you can reduce the risk of crowding. For example, you can:
    • Encourage attendees to purchase tickets in advance, and send them by post or electronically to avoid ticket collection queues.
    • Consider using timed ticketing (where attendees are asked to arrive at different times) if this is appropriate for your event.
  • Think about how to manage attendees outside venues, and reduce the need for crowding where possible. For example, you could:
    • Use as many entry and exit points as possible to reduce crowding, both outside and inside the venue. Use barriers to help people to queue near entrances, especially if you expect long queues.
    • Make sure that entrances and exits are clearly marked so that they are easy for attendees to find, and use venue staff to help to direct people to the right entrances if needed.
    • Using stewards or other staff to manage the flow of people can also help to reduce congestion by people who are blocking entrances, or by people who are not attending the event.
    • If there are multiple checks when people enter your event or venue (e.g. tickets are checked in two or three locations), think about staggering these checking processes to ensure some checkpoints don’t get too crowded.
    • If you are holding a very large event, think about whether you need additional space or resources. You may need to talk to local authorities and other partners about closing pavements, highways and other public spaces around your venue, if this is necessary so that people can arrive at and leave your venue safely. See the section on working with partners for more information on working with local authorities.
  • Think about the flow of customers in the venue, and how you can manage crowding.
    • Review your event and venue plans and think about how customers will move through the event. Think about how you can use communications (such as signs, video screens and PA/audio announcements) to provide additional information to attendees and to reinforce crowd movement messaging.
    • Think about the higher-risk areas where crowds are likely to form, such as concession stands/bars, toilets, turnstiles, lifts, corridors, walkways and entry/exit points and at standing performances. For example, you can use one-way systems to reduce congestion, with clear markings and signage.
    • Make sure you have enough staff to manage the number of attendees you expect at your event, and think about how you can use venue staff to help manage the crowd.

Stewarding/licensed door supervision

  • You can use stewards, ushers or licensed door supervisors (‘bouncers’) to manage attendees and reduce the risk of crowding (e.g. by slowing the flow of people when entrance areas are too crowded). Make sure they are aware of any rules that attendees should follow (such as showing their NHS COVID Pass if you choose to use COVID-19 status checks, or wearing a face covering in relevant areas if this is your event’s policy), and have enough information to explain these policies to attendees.
  • Think about the areas where these workers can reduce risk at your event or venue. Extra stewarding may be helpful at entrances to the venue, at ‘pinch-points’ where queues will normally form, and around seating areas (e.g. to make sure people are directed to the right area or seat).
  • Take into account any risks to stewards and other staff, and think about ways these can be reduced. Stewards, licensed door supervisors and other staff and volunteers face the same risks as attendees. Use your risk register to think about what you can do to reduce these risks. For example, if some workers can supervise crowds from a fixed position behind a barrier rather than being in close contact with large numbers of attendees.

Zoning

  • If you have a large venue, think about dividing the venue into zones so that attendees can be managed in smaller groups to reduce mixing. For example, if you have a seated event, you can ask attendees to use different entrances and exits depending on which zone their seat is in.
  • You can use floor markings or temporary barriers to help to control 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.
  • You can also use things like coloured wristbands to help manage larger venues or events. This can help to control which areas attendees should or should not use, and help stewards or licensed door supervisors to manage attendees and reduce the risk of overcrowding or security issues.

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.
  • Local authorities also have temporary powers to help them to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means they can place restrictions on a business if there is a serious and imminent threat to public health because of COVID-19. This could mean limiting the number of people who can attend an event, changing the way a venue operates to reduce the risk of transmission or prohibiting an event from happening.
    • These powers can only be used where they are necessary to protect public health. The measures imposed by the local authority must be a proportionate way to secure that protection. They cannot be used to place blanket restrictions on types of events or venues.
    • 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.

Local authorities powers to prohibit or restrict events

Local authorities have temporary powers to help them to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020.

This means they can place restrictions on a business if there is a serious and imminent threat to public health because of COVID-19. This could mean limiting the number of people who can attend an event, changing the way a venue operates to reduce the risk of transmission or prohibiting an event from happening.

These powers can only be used where they are necessary to protect public health. The measures imposed by the local authority must be a proportionate way to secure that protection. They cannot be used to place blanket restrictions on types of events or venues.

Where there are concerns about the safety of an event, local authorities should engage with the event organiser to resolve any issues at the earliest opportunity.

Issuing directions to prohibit or restrict an event

Local authority decisions on events should be made on a case-by-case basis, in line with the guidance on local authority powers to impose restrictions. 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 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.

See the guidance on local authority powers to impose restrictions for more information.

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.