Covid-19: Events, performances and festivals

Indoor and outdoor events, performances and festivals are permitted to take place if the government's covid-secure is followed. Hosting events for large numbers of people is particularly challenging at this time and risk assessments and event management plans must ensure social distancing and hygiene arrangements.

Hosting indoor and outdoor events

Restaurants, pubs and bars

For many restaurants, pubs and bars, providing entertainment such as recorded music, live sports broadcasts, quizzes, live musicians or comedians are an important part of your business.

At present you should not permit indoor or outdoor live performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience. However, performances to a live audience are expected to resume after 1st August, subject to the successful completion of pilots, and provided transmission levels remain around or below current levels.

Should the go ahead from Government be given on the 1st August, then businesses should have regard to the following guidance to ensure that social distancing measures are maintained and customers and staff are safe.

Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services  in relation to indoor entertainment.

Steps that will normally be needed:

Determining the viability of entertainment and maximum audience numbers consistent with social distancing outside and within venues and other safety considerations.

Preventing entertainment, such as broadcasts, that is likely to encourage audience behaviours increasing transmission risk. For example, loud background music, communal dancing, group singing or chanting.

Reconfiguring indoor entertainment spaces to ensure customers are seated rather than standing. For example, repurposing dance floors for customer seating.

Encouraging use of online ticketing and online or contactless payments for entertainment where possible.

Communicating clearly to customers the arrangements for entertainment and clearly supervising with additional staff if appropriate.

 Venues should take account of the Performing Arts guidance in organising performances.


Events in public outdoor spaces

At present is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces). However, businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger groups. This is also the case for events in public outdoor spaces that are organised by businesses, charitable or political organisations, and public bodies, provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment. 

The Events Industry Forum has produced guidance for organisers of events during the Covid-19 pandemic. Social distancing and hygiene facilities are extremely important when large numbers of people are gathered in one place and organisers have a responsibility to manage visitor's behaviour.


Theatres, concert hall and cinemas

Theatres, concert halls and cinema hall are allowed to open as from the 4th July, and should follow the government's performing arts Guidance, Live performances in front of a live audience are expected to resume from 1st August. 

The Performing Art guidance is likely to be relevant and should be considered in a wide range of circumstances including but not limited to: music production, film, advertising, television production, places of worship, outdoor events and festivals, indoor unseated music venues, bars and restaurants. Where relevant, it should be read alongside the specific guidance relevant to particular settings.

Conference and exhibition centres from the 1st August will be able to reopen in order to enable pilots for business events to take place – they should not yet be open fully to host events more widely.


From the 1st August, small wedding receptions - sit-down meals for no more than 30 people can take place, subject to COVID-19 Secure guidance.

Roadmap to the opening up of the economy

The Government has set out a roadmap (updated  24th July) to recovery, which gives  timescales for the opening up of the economy and the way forward in the coming months.

Face Coverings

In England, face coverings are now required by law to be worn in the following settings: shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and on public transport. Please be mindful that there are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups to not wear a face covering in these settings.

People are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in any enclosed public space where there are people they do not normally meet.

An owner, proprietor or manager carrying out a business (or a person responsible for other premises) who contravenes the Regulations, without reasonable excuse, commits an offence. If appropriate, both local authorities and the government have powers to close venues, to restrict access to public outdoor spaces, or to cancel events.

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