Events & Parties during the Corona Virus Pandemic
The Current Position as at 24th June 2020, in as plain English as we can make it;
Up to and including 3rd July 2020;
- Weddings and large indoor gatherings are still not permitted.
- Places of worship are still closed to the public for communal or mass gatherings. Independent prayer is allowed.
- Gatherings outside, in private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing (2 metre) guidelines, ARE allowed.
- Those who live alone, or are single parents with dependent children, can form a support bubble with ONE other household only (and stick with that household).
- Visit friends and family inside their homes, unless you as a single person, use the ONE other household as your support bubble.
- Stay overnight away from your own home or support bubble home, except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes
- gather outdoors in a group of more than six (excluding members of your own household)
4th July Onwards
- you can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household – you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case – even inside someone’s home – that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble.
- when you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
- additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open.
- other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open
- stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household
- It will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law and unless all members of the group are exclusively from two households
You SHOULD NOT:
- gather indoors in groups of more than two households – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
- gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than 6 should only take place if everyone is from just two households
- interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
- hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
- stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)
You should continue to stay alert and limit your contact with others. Staying at home is the easiest way to do this.
The more people you have interactions with, the more chance the virus has to spread. Therefore, try to limit the number of people you see – especially over short periods of time.
If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, for example if you have been contacted as part of the test and trace programme, you should stay at home – this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.
Weddings & Gatherings
From 4th July 2020, weddings and civil partnerships will be allowed to take place. You should only invite close friends and family, up to a maximum of 30 people. The wedding exception is for wedding ceremonies only. Inside the venue or place of worship, your 30 guests will be subject to social distance measures.
Large wedding receptions or parties should of course not be taking place. Wedding celebrations can only happen when people follow the guidance of six people outdoors, support bubbles, or two households indoors or outdoors. It is critical for these guidelines to be observed to keep you and your family and friends as safe as possible.
Premises such as activity clubs, community centres and youth clubs can reopen, and will need to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines. You should only attend these in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household). We recognise that you may know other people in these venues but you should try to limit your social interaction to your own household or one other, to help to control the virus.
At this stage, it is not yet safe for live performances, including dramatic, musical or comedy performances, to take place in front of a live audience. This is because of the increased risk of transmission associated with these types of activities or as a result of patrons needing to raise their voices to be heard over background music.
There may be an additional risk of infection in environments where you or others are singing, chanting, shouting or conversing loudly. This applies even if others are at a distance to you. You should therefore avoid environments that require you to raise your voice to communicate with anyone outside your household.
What Can Be Done
- Stay positive. We will see a new normal, but we will be together with loved ones properly again eventually.
- Plan ahead; lockdown has taught us how important it is to celebrate any and all times with friends and family.
- Make a plan of what you want to do when – this is affecting all events, big and small. Some local event have postponed, others like Victorious have made the decision to defer to 2021 straight away. Think about what you want to do and book where you can.
- Even if all you do is get quotes it can help.
- Start thinking about how you will support local venues and local events companies. Now, more than ever, there is definitely a need to party when we can!
- Most companies do have someone still working on enquiries; they may not be open to the public, but typically someone is still there to discuss 2021 and beyond. Don’t assume they are closed to enquiries.
- Some events companies have changed their offerings – look for those hosting online events like virtual character sessions, Zoom parties or virtual quizzes
- Think about whether you can do something at home if you have the room – some companies are providing socially distanced delivery and collection of services like balloons, bouncy castles, play equipment, silent discos and much more. They may only be able to offer every other day for cleaning, so ask early to avoid disappointment.
- The unfortunate likelihood is that some companies won’t survive this – ensure you have insurance for events and weddings in case you need to claim. Most insurers now won’t cover Covid-19 related cancellations or moves on new policies, BUT if there are any issues with a company (e.g. it goes under) it should be covered. (To be honest this was advice we gave out before the pandemic as a popular local wedding venue collapsed.)
- If a deal is too good to be true, right now, it probably indicates a cash flow problem for the business. This could be because they fall between the cracks of Government support out there, OR it could be a red flag. Be wary of any company using the situation to get payments in full up front for events next year and beyond as it ‘shouldn’t’ be needed. We’ve heard of an unfortunate increase in scams relating to weddings and this is one way of disappearing with money.
- Need to understand what they can do that meets the social distance (covid-secure) guidance – mainly keeping staff and public safe. More info is here; https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb96e8e86650c278b077616/Keeping-workers-and-customers-safe-during-covid-19-restaurants-pubs-bars-takeaways-230620.pdf
IF YOU HAVE AN EVENT BOOKED
- COMMUNICATE; be aware that the restrictions are open ended right now. You have to tell the companies what you are thinking of doing, if changing OR NOT, so they can help you accordingly.
- Work WITH companies, not against them; we’re all in the same storm, just in different boats. Companies need to keep going to support staff and families; customers need to make sure they aren’t unfairly treated.
- Recognise that it may take longer for companies to get back to you – a lot of events companies have furloughed staff, so it may just be 1 person dealing with ALL incoming messages. Give them a chance.
- We DO NOT KNOW WHEN weddings and gatherings will be able to go ahead without restriction – it is hoped that more guidance will be given soon, but it looks like social distancing will be with us for a while (think until October if we use the furlough scheme as guidance)
- If you choose to cancel an event or service booked on a date that is not covered by restrictions you may be subject to standard cancellation terms.
- If your venue or another company involved cannot provide the service because of restrictions, you can ask for a refund, subject to any expenditure already made (which has to be reasonable). This even applies to non-refundable deposits or advance payments.
- There shouldn’t be any fee charged for processing a refund in these circumstances.
- Companies will (and should ideally) offer an alternative option e.g. a reschedule or voucher for services. An excessive charge for doing this may be an unfair contract term and subject to challenge. There also shouldn’t be an undue restriction on vouchers or coupons.
- Look to reschedule where possible; this will support the business you originally had your heart set on
- Consider whether you would be willing to pay some of the expected fee at the original date (understand you DO NOT HAVE TO) but this might help them in the short term just overcome this current complete lock down.
- Understand that services MAY HAVE TO be run differently to meet Covid Secure guidelines. This is not a choice but a requirement to keep everyone safe.