This guidance is for the events sector – in particular organisers of events. It comes into effect immediately – 20 July 2020 - and extends until further notice. Guidance will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis in line with the regular three weekly review of lockdown requirements. Please ensure you use the latest version by checking the Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance on our website.
The events sector is diverse, consisting of a range of small, medium and large businesses, many of which will also provide services for other sectors such as cultural, community, sporting and business activities. This guidance may therefore be read alongside similar Scottish Government guidance prepared specifically for other sectors.
We want a strong events sector to help drive Scotland's economic recovery and future prosperity. Event organisers should therefore use this guidance to look forward and engage with trade union or workforce representatives early in their plans for restart to develop workplace specific plans for a managed transition away from current restrictions, allowing sufficient time for that joint work. And while those plans should be fully developed, with measures put in place and tested where possible, they should not be implemented as yet.
The Scottish Government is keen to build confidence and create the right environment for supporting safer work as we continue to live with COVID-19.
We have worked with employers, trade unions, local authorities and representatives from across the events sector to ensure this guidance is evidence-based, fair and ethical, clear and realistic. We welcome the extensive work that trade bodies, industry groups and individual businesses have already done to plan ahead for safe workplaces through practical measures and draft guidelines aimed at ensuring the safety of workforce and the public is at the centre of operational plans for re-starting the sector. As each event is different, it is for individual businesses to work with trade union or workforce representatives to determine how best to apply this guidance in their circumstances.
To help you decide which actions to take, you need to carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. The checklist in this guidance should provide you with a good starting place. The key areas which you need to consider are outlined in each of the sections.
This guide is underpinned by a spirit of collaborative working between event organisers and their workforce. Throughout the guidance the terms event organisers and trade union or workforce representatives are used in that context, recognising that companies have a legal responsibility to maintain workplace health and safety and must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there is not one, a representative chosen by workers. Companies cannot decide who the workforce representative will be. A definition of workforce is provided in the definitions section.
This publication is designed to provide general guidance for event organisers in supporting the restart of their businesses, with a particular focus on the workforce and workplace, in order to help events restart safely at the appropriate time. It is intended to provide advice on measures that need to be considered for COVID-19 only and is not intended to be an overall event guide. It does not constitute legal advice.
This guidance may be supplemented by specific industry, governing body or other guidance, depending on the type of event involved, for example, The Purple Guide aims to help those event organisers who are duty holders to manage health and safety, particularly at large-scale music and similar events. Event organisers will need to take into account the advice of any Safety Advisory Group that exists in their local authority area, along with normal licencing or any other requirements to host an event.
Many events are dependent on other sectors and public services. They often involve travel, either locally or internationally (where there may be quarantine requirements for people entering the UK), and the use of private or public transport. There will continue to be restrictions on travel during the phases of easing that event organisers will want to take into account when planning. There may also be restrictions on accommodation provision.
Some events may require Police Scotland and relevant medical cover so organisers need to check whether this cover can be provided, or whether they need to commission private services. Some events will involve preparation of food where guidance is available: read Food Standard Scotland Guidance
We are working with the UK Government to align our approach and guidance, where possible and on the basis of scientific evidence on the levels of infection in Scotland. This guidance is intended to work alongside UK Government guidance and aims to assist employers, businesses and their workforce ensure a safe working environment and readers will recognise consistent themes within this guidance with the UK Government’s Working Safely during COVID-19 publications.
Links to relevant guidance are included throughout and at the end of this publication.
In addition to event organisers, who are the intended audience for this guidance, we recognise that it will also be of interest to businesses working in the events supply chain, participants or delegates at events, land owners, communities where an event is being held, and the general public.
The collective group of organisations that deliver, or support the delivery of, planned events.
Organised gatherings or activities of limited duration that bring people together for the primary purpose of watching or participating in a community, cultural, commemorative, recreational, sporting, art, educational, entertainment, worship or business experience. This does not include weddings or other family / social gatherings. This also does not include minor sporting events and competitions being organised where there are no spectators permitted. In this case organisers should refer to sportscotland guidance and relevant sport-specific guidance.
Please note that the outdoor events defined below may not take place in general hospitality areas, such as beer gardens, that are currently operating for the serving of food and drink and are subject to a 1 metre physical distancing exemption.
Outdoor seated live events – permitted at present. Not permitted in the central belt from 10 to 26 October 2020.
Attendees must have allocated seats for the duration of the event - either physical seats or marked areas on the ground which households must sit within. Examples include plays, comedy shows, opera and other live music, acts of worship, and sporting events with allocated outdoor seated areas. Event organisers must ensure that seating allows for physical distancing to be practised. Attendees must be able to enter and exit the event at fixed points only so numbers can be controlled and contact details collected. Event organisers should ensure that attendees do not congregate in certain areas (such as toilets, entry/exit or refreshment points) which could make physical distancing difficult. Capacity should be calculated based on ensuring 2m physical distancing up to a limit of 200 attendees at any one time. Standing is permitted only where it forms part of an act of worship.
(Please note this does not include football or rugby with seating, these come under the Stadia category in the route map – not permitted at present )
Outdoor open spaces live events – permitted at present. Not permitted in the central belt from 10 to 26 October 2020.
Events which take place in open spaces so that spectators are dispersed over a wide area, for example a golf event, or horse trials. Attendees must be able to enter and exit the event at fixed points only so numbers can be controlled and contact details collected. Event organisers should ensure that spectators remain dispersed and do not congregate in certain areas (such as toilets entry/exit and refreshment points) which would make physical distancing difficult. Capacity should be calculated based on ensuring 2m physical distancing up to a limit of 200 attendees at any one time.
Outdoor focussed standing live events - not permitted anywhere in Scotland at present
Events which involve spectators standing in a more limited space than open spaces, with a clear focal point (or points). This could include standing around a stage or where attendees move around different areas, for example different stalls / exhibits. Examples would include music concerts, fireworks displays and horse racing. Attendees must be able to enter and exit the event at fixed points only so numbers can be controlled and contact details collected. Event organisers should ensure that attendees remain dispersed and do not congregate in certain areas (such as toilets, entry/exit and refreshment points) which would make physical distancing difficult.
(Please note this does not include lower league football or rugby with terracing, these come under the Stadia category in the route map – not permitted at present )
Intended to capture anyone working on an event, whether that be direct employees, agency workers, freelance suppliers, contractors and specialist workers (such as riggers), seasonal workers, catering and cleaning staff, staff on zero hours contracts, performers, competitors and volunteers.
Location(s) at which event organisers will plan, prepare and deliver events, recognising these could be different fixed and temporary locations at each stage of delivery and that these could be indoors or outdoors.
People other than your workforce that are onsite during an event which may include, but is not limited to, spectators (including ticket holders), sponsors and the general public.
The central belt is subject to local measures to take effect from 10 October 2020 to 26 October 2020 inclusive. These local measures mean that no outdoor live events are permitted. The central belt is defined as the areas covered by:
- Ayrshire & Arran Health Board, comprising East, North, and South Ayrshire
- Forth Valley Health Board, comprising Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, and Stirling
- Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board, comprising Glasgow City, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, and West Dunbartonshire
- Lanarkshire Health Board, comprising North and South Lanarkshire
- Lothian Health Board, comprising the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, and West Lothian
Page last updated: 8 October 2020