For many people, June is usually viewed as the start of a lively summer atmosphere bursting with positive vibes. It’s when the weather heats up, holidays happen, beer gardens up their doors, and events and festivals take place. This year, however, things are very different. Due to the coronavirus, many of these social experiences have been cancelled, or at the very least, postponed. That said, it’s essential to be positive and look to the future. With cases seemingly declining, restrictions have started to ease, allowing for society to return to a sense of normality.
Stage Security is a security firm that boasts years of experience providing a variety of security solutions to businesses throughout the UK. Event security is one of Stage’s most popular services which involves ensuring the safe and smooth execution of public events of all shapes and sizes. As you can expect, Stage has seen a decline in requests for event security since the coronavirus pandemic escalated in March. They are therefore well aware of how this crisis has affected festival organisers.
In this article, Stage Security have provided some expert knowledge on how events are starting to return and what the landscape looks like following the coronavirus restrictions that have shaped our lives over the last few months.
When Is It Safe for Events to Return?
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has affected every country in the world, some more than others. Every country has suffered different rates of infection and have therefore adopted their own restrictions. This article will primarily focus on how the virus has affected England and the country’s specific limits.
England first reacted to the virus in the middle of March when the message was clear: Stay At Home. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced a gradual rollback of the lockdown restrictions in March. While strict social distancing measures remain in place, the lockdown rules continue to ease, and this week it’s been announced that hospitality businesses such as pubs, restaurants and hotels can open their doors to customers from July 4th. While social distancing is set to remain for a while, the required distance has decreased from 2-metres to 1-metre, providing hope for other sectors.
Understandably the government remains cautious about easing restrictions too soon, and there will be regular and extensive monitoring of the infection rate to ensure a second wave doesn’t commence. The question about when it is safe for events to return is dependent on several factors, and at present, it’s impossible to predict the future. Public events and festivals can only return when it is safe to do so. Mass gatherings, especially ones that take place indoors, provide an environment where the virus can quickly spread.
While there is not yet any guidance on a potential date for events to be allowed, organisers are already planning ahead for any eventuality. The Football Association, for example, are reportedly considering the Community Shield football match in August or September as a potential test venue for allowing supporters to attend. The opening up of hospitality and leisure businesses is a step in the right direction. Should there be no spike in infections over the coming weeks and months, then attention will turn to large-scale events.
How Events Are Adapting to the Restrictions
When significant public events and festivals can return, the experience is unlikely to be the same as we know it. A potential vaccine for the virus is widely regarded as an essential piece in the roadmap for a return to normal life. Should a vaccine become available, then the most vulnerable people in our society will be able to protect themselves. While there are hopes for a vaccine this year, the possibility remains that this won’t be the case until 2021. Should events return before a vaccine is made available, it’s highly likely that organisers will be required to implement strict measures. The measures could involve reduced capacity, checking temperatures at entrances, placing hand sanitiser stations, and more, all in aid of enforcing social distancing and stopping the spread of the virus.
The terms ‘event’ and ‘festival’ are versatile. There are no rules that say it is unlawful for someone to host an event or festival. The distinguishing factor is how the event will take place. If you are planning to organise a public event in a physical location, then you should seek official guidance. Digital events, of course, can still take place as long as the event staff are adhering to the regulations. Over the past few months, there have been several instances of online events taking place, such as live musical performances. Another workaround could involve a drive-in event. An activity such as this would allow guests to remain in the safety of their vehicles, embracing social distancing rules, while enjoying a live show in an open space. One such example of this is the Live Nation Drive-In that has been recently announced. This festival is due to host several shows throughout the country where guests can attend via the comfort of their vehicles.