The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on public life, caused tens of thousands of deaths and put lives in danger. To minimise the risks to public health, the Welsh Government introduced a range of measures to protect the population. The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1609) (as amended) set out restrictions and requirements which must be complied with in relation to organised gatherings and events. References in this guidance to “the Regulations” are to these Regulations unless otherwise stated.
Gatherings and events that are "regulated"
The term used in the Regulations for these types of organised activities are gatherings or events that are "regulated". Regulation 57(7) sets out what regulated means in this context and includes where an event has been organised by a business, charity, club, national association or other public body which will undertake a risk assessment and take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus.
Having satisfied the requirements of regulation 57(7). Regulated gatherings may encompass a broad range of activities that can be attended by people of any age. These activities may include activities that were previously referred to as organised activities and may include such things such as exercise classes, team sports organised activities for the development and wellbeing of children, guided tours and others.
A regulated event can be distinguished from other regulated gatherings by being identified as an occasion, which is planned or scheduled for a particular purpose, and at which any number of people are in the same place for that purpose, whether or not they are participating in a gathering at the event.
The numbers permitted to attend a particular event of this type will be determined by the size of the venue, the risk assessment and the reasonable measures, which includes ensuring 2m social distancing can be maintained. The maximum number permitted outdoors at these types of events are 4,000 people standing and 10,000 people seated.
Other legislation may also apply depending on the nature of the event.
It is the responsibility of event organisers to ensure they adhere to the current laws in Wales which are applicable to the event in question and note that these may change from time to time. Information on the alert level in place and any transitional arrangements can be seen here: COVID-19 alert levels.
This document is designed to help all those involved in organising, attending and regulating both indoor and outdoor events in Wales to understand how to operate during this pandemic and minimise the risks to employees, contractors (including those that are self-employed), volunteers and attendees at events. This guidance also highlights some of the restrictions and legal requirements which apply in relation to organised events.
In developing proposals for events, the event organiser must undertake a risk assessment and must comply with:
- Regulation 16 (requirement to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus) including social distancing, and
- Regulation 18 (guidance about taking reasonable measures).
The risk assessment must satisfy the requirements of regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (whether or not the person conducting it would otherwise be subject to that regulation).
In doing so, the organiser should pay particular attention to venue/site pinch points which may provide greater opportunity for transmission. For those higher risk areas where social distancing may be more difficult, organisers should ensure that additional mitigations are put in place. While mitigations will be specific to the event and venue, this should include full staff and attendee data collection on site for the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service and robust pre and on-site event communications/signage and floor markings to reiterate the need to maintain 2m social distancing to protect themselves and others.
Where mitigations cannot be put in place or risks managed effectively, including attendees socially distancing, those events or elements of events should not take place. In some cases, by virtue of regulation 16, it will be a reasonable measure for certain activities not to proceed or for certain parts of premises not to be open. If that is the conclusion, following the risk assessment, then that reasonable measure must be taken. (Attention will also need to be given to necessary compliance with Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. See also: 22 Equality in the workplace).
If required, (see below) organisers should make early contact with the Local Authority in the area where an event is due to take place to check if there are any local restrictions. Event organisers are also strongly advised to make contact with the relevant Director or Head of Service within the Local Authority covering the event site who is responsible for public health in the local area, as well as the local Safety Advisory Group (or local equivalent) at an early stage.
Local authorities have the powers to prevent events taking place if they are felt to be unsafe, or present a risk to public health for either those working on site, or the general public.
2. Welsh national restrictions
The current alert level plan for Wales can be found here: COVID-19 alert levels.
Recent decisions arising out of the Welsh Government’s 21 day review process have delivered an easement of the restrictions around events which state that regulated gatherings (including organised activities and weddings) and regulated events may be permitted but only outdoors and subject to reasonable measures rules. The limits are:
- Regulated Events (outdoors) where attendees are normally seated: up to a maximum of 10,000 attendees
- Other regulated events (outdoors), ie: not seated. Standing/ambulatory events: up to a maximum of 4,000 attendees
For the avoidance of doubt, unless an event is normally totally seated, the limit of attendees is 4,000. For seated events of 10,000 an additional 4,000 standing/ambulatory may not be added nor could an event be comprised of 6,000 seated and 4,000 not seated.
The limits above do not include those working or providing voluntary services at events.
In the case of outdoor events, regulations also apply to any attendant proposed hospitality provision, although, if provided, food and beverage, may be ordered and collected from indoors, with full mitigation measures in place (social distancing in queues, face coverings etc.) and taken outdoors for consumption.
This guidance only applies to events that are permitted under the Regulations. The legal restrictions and requirements vary depending on the current alert level and any transitional arrangements that may be in place from time to time, and event organisers, and/or venue owners, with responsibility for the premises in or at which the event will take place must ensure the appropriate legislation is followed.
3. The guidance
The aspects of this guidance relating to the duties to take reasonable measures is made under regulation 18 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 and applies to each of the organised events captured by those Regulations. Event organisers with responsibility for the premises, and/or venue owners in or at which the event will take place must, under the legislation, have regard to those aspects of this guidance.
This overarching guidance should be read in conjunction with event sector-specific guidance which is crossed-referenced within this document, including:
- The purple guide
- Festivals guidance
- Guide to safety at sports grounds
- The AEV e-guide
- Meetings Industry Association
- Association of event organisers
- UKHospitality guidance
- Circus toolkit
- Retail shops guidance
- Foodservice (including takeaway)
- Visitor economy guidance
- Sport Wales
- Performing arts guidance
Note: the above sector guides may not reflect local statutory requirements and should be considered in the context of the specific legal position in Wales, where restrictions and requirements may differ from the rest of the UK.
In the case of specific sporting events it may also be necessary to consider, in addition, any guidance, if available, from the relevant National Governing Body for Wales.
As the events captured by the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 take many forms, this guidance is based on a COVID risk assessment approach which should be applied to all types of event, regardless of capacity.
Regulations 57(7) and 16(1) of the Regulations requires event organisers to undertake a specific assessment of the risk of exposure to coronavirus at the event premises, in order to minimise that risk. In carrying out this risk assessment, organisers must consult with those persons working on the premises or their representatives. If the regulated event or regulated gathering is held on premises that would normally be regarded as regulated premises the organiser should also consult with the responsible person who is usually responsible for those premises and who will also have duties under regulation 16.
It is recognised that some events which, by their nature, are higher risk may not be permitted to take place until restrictions are further lifted. However, under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020, the Welsh Ministers have power to give authorisation for an event to take place despite the fact the number of attendees would exceed the limits prescribed by the applicable Alert Level in place at the time.
4. The role of local authorities
Local authorities have an important role in helping to ensure the safe return of events. They are ordinarily responsible for considering applications for certain licenced organised events to take place in their local area. They make decisions as to whether to allow an event to take place on a case-by-case basis, doing so, now, with consideration given to both the COVID risks to public health, and the proposed mitigations (including an appropriate COVID risk assessment). This is as well as the usual statutory processes and wider considerations in relation to economic and social benefits that events offer to local communities.
Please consider all information available from the local authority in relation to planning events, and begin to plan as early as possible. Where advice and consultation is required, the sooner this is sought, the more time will be available for discussing the options, securing the basis for an agreement to proceed in line with statutory processes.
Local authorities vary in the time that is required for them to consider event proposals, so it is necessary for organisers to ensure they are aware of local arrangements. For some events, the lead in time can be as much as six months.
Event organisers should use this guidance alongside any event-related advice available on the relevant local authority website/s and any notification procedures - usually found on the local authority website where the event is proposed to take place.
When local authorities are notified that an organiser is to hold an event, the local authority should first check whether the event in question is of a type permitted under the latest Welsh Government rules.
The local authority will review the event organiser’s risk assessment, if required, (see below: 6: A Risk Assessment Approach) and, where practicable, may give the organiser advice on how to manage the event whilst reducing risks to the public.
Where local authorities have a Safety Advisory Group (SAG), or equivalent, which brings together all the interested stakeholders, including local public health representation as required, this group will be involved in the consideration of the event proposal. As above, if consulting with the local authority, it is advisable for event organisers to engage with this process at an early stage. Ideally, the relevant Director/Head of Service within the local authority who is responsible for public health at a local level should also be involved.
Local authorities may allow the event to take place provided they are satisfied that it will not pose a threat to public health and subject to the organisers adhering to all legal requirements and having regard to relevant guidance.
If local authorities are concerned about an event, they should discuss those concerns with the event organiser at the earliest possible opportunity and, wherever possible, advise what actions might be taken to mitigate any risks or concerns in order for the event to go ahead.
If an authority decides that an event cannot take place, they should share their reasons for not progressing the application with the event organiser so that their reasons for doing so can be understood.
If required, the Welsh Ministers have powers under Schedule 22 to the Coronavirus Act 2020 to close venues hosting large gatherings or prohibit certain events (or types of event) from taking place. There are also powers under regulation 31 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (as amended from time to time) to restrict access to a public place.
Where an authority, such as the Health & Safety Executive (HSE: who would potentially take action under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) or a Local Authority, identifies organisers or businesses which are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they are empowered to take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. For example, this would cover employers not taking appropriate action to ensure social distancing was in place at an organised event.
Failure to complete a risk assessment (as below) which properly takes account of COVID-19, or completing a risk assessment, but failing to put in place sufficient or effective measures to manage the risk of the transmission of COVID-19, may constitute a breach of health and safety law. The actions the enforcing authority can take include providing advice to organisers/businesses to help them achieve the required standard, through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements.
Serious breaches and failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence, with significant fines. There is also a wider system of enforcement, which includes specific obligations and conditions for licensed premises.
Employers, including event organisers, are expected to respond to any advice or notices issued by enforcing authorities in a timely manner, and must do so within any timescales imposed by the enforcing authorities. It is acknowledged that the vast majority of employers are responsible and will join with Wales’ fight against COVID-19 by working with the Welsh Government and their sector bodies to protect their workers and the public. However, inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that all employers are taking the necessary steps.
6. A risk assessment approach
As indicated above, Regulations 57(7) and 16(1) of the Regulations requires event organisers to undertake a specific assessment of the risk of exposure to coronavirus at the event premises, in order to minimise that risk. In carrying out this risk assessment, organisers must consult with those persons working on the premises, or their representatives, and put in place all reasonable measures, including social distancing, paying particular attention to venue/site pinch points which may provide greater opportunity for transmission.
For those higher risk areas where social distancing may be more difficult, organisers should ensure that additional mitigations are put in place. While mitigations will be specific to the event and venue, this should include full staff and attendee data collection on site for the Test, Trace, Protect service and robust pre and on-site event communications/signage and floor markings to reiterate the need to maintain 2m social distancing to protect themselves and others. Where mitigations cannot be put in place or risks managed effectively, including attendees socially distancing, those events or elements of events should not take place.
This document sets out broad guidance about how events can be organised lawfully while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. (See also: 11: Assessing the Risks).
While it provides practical suggestions for how events can take place, it is recognised that each event is different and organisers will need to undertake their own legal analysis and risk assessments to identify how best to minimise the risks to all those involved in their particular event, from those working for them, volunteers and contractors to attendees. As previously, this guidance relates only to activities and events permitted by law in Wales.
This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to COVID-19 restrictions, health and safety, employment or equality laws and it is important that, as a business, individual or employer, organisers comply with their legal obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. As previously, a COVID risk assessment should be undertaken as an addition to the normal health and safety and fire risk assessments that event organisers are required to do.
When organising events, organisers should take account of other relevant guidance for example, when organising with live performances, the Welsh Government’s Performing Arts Guidance .
It should also be noted that some large-scale events where large groups tend to concentrate around an area – such as at concerts and festivals – may be unable to go ahead at this time due to local restrictions, capacity caps and social distancing requirements. Industry guidance for concerts and festival events can be found here: New Covid-19 planning guidance published for UK festivals. See also Culture and heritage destinations and venues: guidance for a phased return.
In creating a COVID-aware risk assessment, organisers and those responsible for venues should take into account factors beyond the confines of the event site/venue, including the cumulative impact of many venues re-opening in a small area; the impact the event might have on local community facilities; and the impact on the transportation of attendees, those who work on site and equipment to and from the event, plus the potential impact the consumption of alcohol/food/drink may have on attendees. This means working with Local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to fully assess these risks and considering whether any additional mitigations are required. These could include:
- Further lowering capacity - even if it is possible to accommodate a number of people at a venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel to or enter that venue.
- Staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas.
- Arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues.
- Advising attendees to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue.
- Employing robust pre- and on-site event communications in order to inform attendees, both in advance and at the event, of safe practice in and around the event. This should include details of any requirement to provide ID or data for TTP purposes on arrival, if not collected in advance, in order to reduce the risks caused by queuing.
- Ensuring stewards, volunteers are fully briefed on venue layout and the COVID mitigations in place at the event to facilitate enforcement.
This guidance applies to the organiser of events as well as anyone who has some degree of responsibility for the venue or the event, including suppliers and contractors. Where there is more than one responsible person or organisation – for example, the venue owner/operator, a person who has hired the venue for a period of time and the users of the venue – they will need to co-operate to ensure that they give proper consideration to this guidance.
As many events involve a mix of activities, from catering to retail services, particular attention needs to be paid to the specific regulations made by the Welsh Ministers relating to these activities which may apply. Similarly, where events include performances (including demonstrations), regulations relating to the performing arts may apply, particularly in respect of how audiences should be socially distanced.
It is the responsibility of all event organisers to produce a risk assessment.
7. Social distancing
Maintaining social distancing remains fundamental to creating a COVID-aware event and applies to all those visiting or working on the event site, including attendees. It is currently a legal requirement in Wales for event organisers and responsible persons in respect of regulated premises to take all reasonable measures to ensure:
- that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer);
- where persons are required to wait to enter the premises, that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between them (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer). See current Welsh Government guidance
Taking account of the above and with reference to all those working on-site, including volunteers and contractors, event organisers should note:
- Social distancing applies to all areas, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing
- For those higher risk areas where social distancing may be more difficult, organisers should ensure that additional mitigations are put in place. While mitigations will be specific to the event and venue, this should include full staff and attendee data collection on site for Test, Trace, Protect and robust pre and on-site event communications/signage and floor markings to reiterate the need to maintain 2m social distancing to protect themselves and others.
- Any failure to take all reasonable measures to maintain social distancing of 2 metres must be fully justified and set out in the event risk assessment.
- Where the social distancing requirements cannot be followed in relation to a particular activity, organisers should consider whether it is a reasonable measure that the activity is brought to an end or does not take place. If so, then that reasonable measure must be taken..
- Wearing face coverings in indoor public places is a requirement.
- Organisers should take all reasonable mitigating actions to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID between those working on site. Mitigating actions might include:
- Further increasing the frequency of hand washing/sanitising and surface cleaning.
- Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
- Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
- Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face), whenever possible.
- Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using fixed teams or partnering (so each person works with only a few others).
- Site access points for those working on site should be managed to ensure social distancing is maintained.
- All reasonable measures must be taken to ensure social distancing as between attendees who are from different households and between attendees and workers/performers/traders etc. should be maintained at all times. Coronavirus (COVID-19) social distancing guidance for everyone in Wales.
- Organisers must pay particular attention to maintaining social distancing requirements at points where there is direct interaction between people or groups of people, such as at entrance points.
- Those operating venues, or running events, should take all reasonable measures to prevent mass gatherings from taking place within the event. This may require additional security and marshalling.
8. Face coverings
In some locations and settings, such as indoor retail and catering areas, the wearing of face coverings, as required by the regulations, is mandatory in spaces where the public have access for both staff and customers, unless they have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one, or they are under the age of 11. Members of the public may remove their face coverings for the immediate consumption of food or drink in designated areas, but must immediately replace their face coverings when they have finished eating or drinking.
A face covering is not the same as a face mask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers, which are manufactured to a regulated standard. Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the PPE (see below) used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context.
In areas where the wearing of face coverings is not required by regulations made by the Welsh Ministers, such as outdoors, event organisers should nonetheless consider whether to require their use as part of their COVID-19 risk assessment if it is not possible to put other mitigations in place.
Please be mindful that the wearing of a face covering may inhibit communication with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may also have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one, for example, because of their age or a health condition or other protected characteristic. Members of staff may remove their face coverings temporarily whilst maintaining 2 meters distance in order to assist anyone who is reliant on lip reading or seeing facial expressions to communicate.
Businesses, including event organisers, are also required to remind customers to wear face coverings where this is mandated (e.g., by displaying posters).
People are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other public spaces where social distancing may not be reasonably practicable and where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.
Face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk in the workplace, including minimising time spent in contact with others, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing/sanitising. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and face coverings should not be used as a replacement for health and safety measures.
People should remove face coverings if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.
Employers, including event organisers, should support their workers in using face coverings safely. This means telling workers:
- When removing or putting on a face covering, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.
- When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as this could contaminate them with germs from your hands.
- Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it.
- Change and wash your face covering daily.
- If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in usual in the non-recyclable waste stream.
Face-coverings can be made at home and guidance on how to do this can be found here: How to make a 3 layer face covering.
9. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
If any risk assessment shows that PPE is required as a reasonable measure, then PPE must be provided free of charge to those workers who need it.
PPE protects the user against health or safety risks at work and is manufactured to regulated standards to provide an identified level of protection to the wearer. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It includes respiratory protective equipment, such as face masks.
Supplies of PPE, including face masks, should continue to be reserved for those who need them (such as health and care workers) to protect against risks in their workplace and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.
Where PPE is already used by workers to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, they should continue to use it.
PPE should not be used to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
A suitably trained manager should be appointed to coordinate and oversee the implementation of health management on site, including the development of a health risk assessment which should form part of the overall event risk assessment. This may fall within the remit of the event safety manager, if they are suitably trained.
Event organisers should designate someone with sufficient seniority to be responsible for ensuring that all COVID-safe actions are taken and that person should be directly involved in drawing up a COVID-19 risk assessment. They should also be known to all those working on the event site and recognised as the ‘COVID Officer’.
11. Assessing the risks
Every regulated event or regulated gathering, whether large or small, must carry out a detailed risk assessment to identify any issues that could put people attending the event site in any danger. This risk assessment should take account of factors required under health and safety or fire regulations as well issues affecting public health. It should also specify what actions are being taken to mitigate all the risks that are identified, including the additional risks in relation to COVID-19 (which should form its own risk assessment).
As part of this risk assessment, consideration should be given to the particular circumstances of those with protected characteristics. The specific risk assessment must be undertaken in consultation with workers or their relevant unions or representatives.
Event organisers are required to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19, and in the case of events, this should take into account all those attending the event site, including workers, volunteers, delivery drivers, attendees and the public in general.
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This means organisers need to think about the risks they face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising that it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Consideration should also be given to the security implications of any decisions and control measures that are put in place, which may present new or altered security risks that may require further mitigation. This could relate to varying the level of spectator/attendee/participant checks undertaken in order to access the event, for example, which need to be in line with current threat levels.
A risk assessment is not about creating huge amount of paperwork but, rather, about identifying sensible measures to control the risk of the transmission of COVID-19.
Those with fewer than five workers, or who are self-employed, do not legally have to write anything down as part of their risk assessment but it is always advisable to do so in order to be able to demonstrate that all the risks have been considered should anything go wrong.
Risk assessments should always be treated as live documents that need to be referred to and updated/changed as events evolve.
There are interactive tools available to help the writing of a risk assessment, including the following:
12. Assessing capacities
Understanding the safe capacity of an event venue/site is a vital part of the risk assessment. Assessing the capacity of the venue/site will depend on a number of factors, from the type of event to the layout and maximising ventilation, but it is also necessary to determine the numbers that can be accommodated to enable the required social distancing.
- Capacities should comply with current Welsh Government Regulations/ guidance (see above).
- Where a venue is designed for mixed usage, such as a meeting room within a hotel, the capacity should be calculated on the area where the event is taking place allowing for 2 meters distancing between each person, but with consideration for any impact on other areas, such as entrances and any shared facilities (See also: 7: Social Distancing).
- Capacities will need to be adjusted to allow for any pinch points or particularly busy areas within the area being used, such as toilet facilities.
- Consideration should also be given to other activities that may be taking place in the same venue to avoid crowding. This may involve, for example:
- Liaising with the venue and other event organisers to avoid congestion points.
- Adjusting event times to avoid people arriving for different events at the same times.
- Correlating event programmes to avoid intervals or breaks coinciding.
- Arranging different entrances and exits for each event.
13. Protecting those who work for you and volunteers
Employers, including event organisers, have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest possible level by taking preventative safeguarding measures. Employers should work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace so that everybody's health and safety is protected.
As previously, organisers, venues, suppliers, contractors and traders should follow the appropriate sector specific Welsh Government guidance for working at events.
Risk assessments should particularly consider the safety of those working closely with event attendees.
Event organisers should also consider consulting any relevant unions covering their workforce for help with issues affecting workers and for sector-specific guidance.
Employers have a duty to consult their workforce on health and safety matters, including the risks identified and the preventative and protective measures being put in place in relation to COVID-19.
Event organisers should also consider consulting any relevant unions covering their workforce for help with issues affecting those who work for them and for sector-specific guidance.
15. On-site illness
Anyone showing any of the symptoms, lives with someone who has symptoms or who is identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 should not attend the event. Anyone working on the event site who starts to feel unwell or shows any of the symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately be isolated from other workers and either stay in isolation until medical assistance can be brought to them or leave the site altogether to return straight home and self-isolate.
Event organisers might consider creating an isolation/quarantine area (ideally close to medical facilities) from the start of construction through to the conclusion of breakdown. Consideration should be given to providing suitably qualified medical staff at these points.
Anyone feeling unwell with COVID symptoms should self-isolate immediately and book a test: Getting tested for coronavirus (COVID-19)
16. Protecting people
Extra care should be taken where clinically extremely vulnerable individuals need to be on site. They should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to maintain social distancing requirements. If the nature of their role means that reasonable measures cannot be put in place to maintain social distancing, organisers must carefully assess whether the work the individual will be doing involves an unacceptable level of risk. Individual workplace assessments may be helpful in this regard, using the online COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool. This is a two-stage risk assessment for NHS and Social Care workers, which is suitable for use for all staff who are vulnerable or at risk of contracting COVID-19, including people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Event organisers should ensure that any changes to entries, exit and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including customers living with a disability. For example, maintaining pedestrian and parking access for customers living with a disability.
Event organisers should be particularly mindful of the mental health and wellbeing of all those working for them. NHS Wales has published guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus which can be found here.
17. Accidents and first aid
In an emergency, such as an accident or need for evacuation, people do not have to maintain social distancing if it would be unsafe.
People involved in the provision of assistance to others in the event of an emergency should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards, including washing hands.
Organisers should review their incident and emergency procedures to ensure they maintain social distancing requirements as far as possible.
18. Getting to and leaving the event site
Organisers should encourage those working on site, including volunteers, to observe COVID safety rules when travelling to and from the event site.
Advice on travelling during the pandemic can be found here: Travel and transport: advice.
Regular and thorough cleaning is an essential part of creating a COVID-aware event.
Guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings can be found under cleaning here: Keep Wales safe at work.
Public toilets present a potential pinch point on an event site/at an event venue and should be identified as such in the risk assessment. Public toilets, whether portable or fixed, should be kept open, well-ventilated and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. See guidance on providing safer toilets for public use: Providing safer toilets for public use: coronavirus.
Those responsible for managing toilet facilities should be aware that those doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
21. Moving around the event site
Movement around an event site should be kept to a minimum by encouraging the use of radios/telephones and organising one-way flow through the site and structures. Pinch points should be carefully managed to avoid crowding.
22. Equality in the workplace
Employers have particular responsibilities towards those who work for them with protected characteristics. This will require considering whether there is a need to put any particular measures or adjustments in place to ensure compliance with equalities legislation and also making sure that any steps taken to manage the COVID risk do not have an unjustifiably negative impact on some groups compared to others. See: Equality planning and strategy.
In applying this guidance, employers should also be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals.
It is unlawful to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex, disability, race or ethnicity.
Employers also have particular responsibilities towards staff that have disabilities and those who are new or expectant mothers.
Steps that will usually be needed:
- Understanding and taking into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics.
- Involving and communicating appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or make any measures you are thinking about implementing inappropriate or challenging for them.
- Considering whether you need to put in place any particular measures or adjustments to take account of your duties under equalities legislation.
- Making reasonable adjustments to avoid workers with disabilities being put at a disadvantage, and assessing the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.
- Making 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 (and complying with the Equality Act 2010).
23. Communication and training
As part of maintaining COVID-aware working practices, it is important to communicate clearly with - and reassure - everyone about the rules that have been put in place. Communication with all those attending, both pre-event and whilst on site, plays a key role in increasing the impact of mitigations and reducing risk.
All those coming onto the event site to work who may not be familiar with COVID work practices, should be briefed on health rules and provided with a written copy of the site’s health policy. This should ideally happen prior to them coming onto the event site.
It is vital that stewards, volunteers etc. are fully briefed on the COVID mitigations in place at the event to facilitate enforcement.
Signage on site should be used to remind workers and all others on site of the need to socially distance and to wash hands regularly. See: Safety and physical distancing signs for employers: coronavirus
24. Collecting of personal data for Test Trace Protect
The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service. It is a legal requirement for venues, and those responsible for organising events, to take reasonable measures to collect the contact details of those attending the event site (including those who work for them, other staff and attendees) and to keep a record of those details for 21 days, see Keeping records of staff, customers, and visitors: test, trace, protect. This information must be made available to NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service if requested. They need to know who those who test positive may have been in contact with. By adhering to these Regulations you will help to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus.
Many events that sell tickets already have systems for recording their attendees. Those organising non-ticketed events must take all reasonable steps to obtain attendee information to help fight the virus. Details of how to collect and maintain records can be found here: Keeping records of staff, customers, and visitors: test, trace, protect. Contact information collected must be accurate. There must be reasonable measures in place to ensure this is the case.
You will need to make it clear to your customers why this information is being collected and what is expected of them when arriving on site, whether it is data collection or providing ID to confirm data provided in advance. Explain what you intend to do and that it may be shared with the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service. You can do this for example, by a verbal explanation, or on your website, or a notice displayed at your premises. Material is available to help you do this: Business Wales: COVID-19 Support for business tool kits.
You should tell people when you will share their details. This will only be in the event of a case, cluster or outbreak of coronavirus. A cluster or outbreak means more than one new case of coronavirus that is tracked back to your premises. The NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service will use this information to check if they, and any person in their party, may have been exposed. If the individual still does not want to share their details, and you are under a duty to collect those details, you should not allow them on the premises.
There is a NHS App and QR code posters pertaining, however, use of this app must be in addition to - not instead of - data collection for all those on site.
The NHS app does not replace the legal requirement for businesses in Wales to collect information from customers, staff and visitors, which is fully explained in the related guidance: Keeping records of staff, customers, and visitors: test, trace, protect
Organisers may consider developing their own app to facilitate data collection for the robust tracing of attendees
Organisers must ensure that data protection law and other legal requirements in relation to data are observed and when recording data, notifying people of any testing that is undertaken and completing a data impact assessment.
The data you are collecting is personal data and, under data protection law you are a data controller for that data. This means you have certain legal obligations in handling that data. You will need to be satisfied that you are complying with the data protection law. This is to protect the privacy of your staff, customers and visitors. It should be noted that those found not to be compliant with data protection law regulations may be subject to financial penalties. Information about these requirements can be found here: Keeping records of staff, customers, and visitors: test, trace, protect. Individuals have a number of rights under data protection law (see ICO guidance for more details). You must ensure that they can exercise these rights.
Where events are pre-ticketed, consideration should be given to asking attendees to complete a pre-attendance health check questionnaire or provide evidence of a recent COVID test or vaccination. A reminder text that attendees must not come to the event if they or anyone they live with has any COVID-19 symptoms, or if they have been told by NHS Test Trace Protect to self-isolate as a contact of a positive case is also recommended.
Organisers may also wish to consider asking all those attending the event site to undertake a voluntary at home rapid COVID test (Lateral Flow Device) in order to help protect themselves, others and the safe delivery of the event. Tests can be ordered through the Welsh Government website here: Get rapid lateral flow COVID-19 tests if you do not have symptoms.
Anyone with a positive test should not attend the event, self-isolate and arrange a follow up, confirmatory PCR test as soon as possible. Anyone who lives with them should also self-isolate.
Organisers should consider the management of deliveries to the site and how breakdown at the end of the event will be handled in a COVID-safe way. This may involve a range of measures, from staggering entry and exit times to encouraging delivery drivers to stay in their vehicles. Consideration should also be given to the loading and unloading of vehicles in line with COVID-safe working practices.
26. Suppliers and contractors
All suppliers, contractors and self-employed/freelances (as well as those employed by them) coming onto the event site should be fully briefed (preferably in advance) about the site’s COVID-safe rules. Agreement to comply with these rules should form part of contracts, wherever possible.
27. Traders and caterers etc.
Compliance with the event site’s COVID-19 safety rules should form part of the agreement between organisers and all those operating on the site, including traders, entertainers, caterers etc. This should include providing the organisers with risk assessments covering their operations on the site that include clear measures in relation to managing attendees on site/at the venue in order to avoid pinch points.
As part of individual risk assessments, traders, retailers and caterers should state how they will apply the appropriate guidance for what they will be doing on site – for example, traders should be operating to standards set for retailing.
The appropriate guidance that should be followed are:
28. Performances, including rehearsals, training and management of stages, dressing rooms and similar areas
Guidance on how to rehearse, train, perform and manage performers, audiences, and participants while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19 is available in the Performing arts guidance for a phased return.
29. Keeping attendees safe
Where events are permitted, all reasonable measures must be taken to ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times.
Capacities should be assessed based on the size of the event space and expectations of audience behaviour to ensure that social distancing can be maintained. They should also be limited to avoid putting pressure on local and public transport.
The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) has published guidance on adapting existing search and screening processes to take account of physical distancing, see COVID-19 and the easing of lockdown.
30. Enclosed spaces and ventilation
As set out in regulation 57 of the Regulations , ‘premises are indoors if they are enclosed or substantially enclosed within the meaning given by regulation 2 of the Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) Regulations 2007(1)’
Good ventilation is vital in helping to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, so event organisers should focus on improving general ventilation in all enclosed, or partially enclosed, areas by improving fresh air flow or using mechanical systems.
Those in control of a premises have a legal duty to ensure effective ventilation. Further advice on air conditioning and ventilation is available from the HSE.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated and expanded its advice to help employers provide adequate ventilation in their workplaces and premises during the pandemic. The guidance builds on helping you to identify and take action in poorly ventilated areas. It also provides guidance on other factors to consider when assessing the risk from aerosol transmission, and determining whether adequate ventilation is being provided to reduce this risk.
You should be maximising the fresh air in a space and this can be done by:
- natural ventilation
- mechanical ventilation
- a combination of natural and mechanical ventilation, for example where mechanical ventilation relies on natural ventilation to maximise fresh air
Read the updated guidance on air conditioning and ventilation and find out how you can provide adequate ventilation in your workplace, helping to protect workers and other people from transmission of coronavirus.
There is also advice available for building services, particularly around ventilation of buildings, both in use and when returning to buildings which have been closed from the following:
- Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
- The Building Engineers Services Association, and
Ventilation and the new variants (technical details for those with mechanical systems).
Ventilation is a key mitigation measure to control the far-field (more than 2m) transmission of COVID-19 by aerosols between people who share the same indoor space. Ventilation is not likely to have significant impacts on close range transmission by droplets and aerosols (within 1-2m) or transmission via contact with surfaces (high confidence).
Higher viral load associated with people who have any new variant of concern could have significant implications for transmission via the air, as previous scientific modelling suggests that viral load is a major determinant of airborne transmission risks. As new variants of concern became apparent, SAGE stated that, for most workplaces and public environments, adequate ventilation equates to a flow rate of 8-10 l/s/person based on design occupancy, although guidance for some environments allows for lower flow rates of 5 l/s/person. Since the emergence of new variants of concern, SAGE has recommended where possible, increasing ventilation flow rates mentioned above by a factor of 1.7 (70%) to account for the increase in transmissibility.
For some existing and older buildings, ventilation systems may not have been designed to meet current standards and additional mitigations may be needed. As a precautionary measure it is recommended that ventilation is included as part of any workplace or public indoor environment COVID secure risk assessment, and the necessary mitigation measures are adopted.
In most buildings, maintaining comfortable temperatures and humidity above 40-60% relative humidity is likely to be beneficial to reducing the survivability of the virus. However, this is likely to be less important than the ventilation rate mentioned above (medium confidence).
If buildings have been closed or had reduced occupancy water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires disease. HSE guidance covering water management and legionella is available.
Steps that will usually be needed:
- Checking any water supplies - mains water supplies that have to be reconnected (because they were turned off when a premises was closed) will need running through to flush away any microbiological or chemical residue that might have built up while it was disconnected. The Drinking Water Inspectorate, who are the Regulators and technical experts in England and Wales, has produced this advice on maintaining drinking water quality when reinstating water supplies after temporary closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak
- Checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.
- Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however where systems serve multiple buildings or you are unsure, advice can be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.
- Removing any fans from, for example, workstations, to avoid the recirculation of air.
- Opening windows and doors frequently to encourage ventilation, where possible, and if it is safe to do so.
In the case of temporary structures, ventilation may be achieved by lifting or removing side walls.
When utilising outdoor spaces, the use of physical coverings, awnings, gazebos or marquees should be implemented in such a way so as to ensure that they are aligned with current public health advice. The effects of sunlight, wind direction and intensity, social distance and effective handwashing should all be considered.
Specifically, if they are closed on all sides and roof/ceiling they are considered and treated as an internal environment, and should be treated as such. In contrast if they are open-sided ( or more than 50% open as per the Smoke-Free Premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2020) they are to be considered and treated as an external environment. It is imperative that if marquees or similar are to be used they need to be part of the premises’ risk assessments included in cleaning regimes, and monitored so as to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.
Guidance on ventilation can be found in the following:
31. Attendee management
Organisers, in consultation with those responsible for security and stewarding, should consider the requirements for social distancing and the risks of overcrowding when planning and, where necessary, restrict the numbers allowed on the site including staff, or in a particular area, at any one time. Depending on the type of event, this may be best achieved through ticket numbers. However, for events where there is no ticketing, organisers will need to consider using other communications approaches, such as signage, coupled with robust and effective site stewarding, to manage the numbers attending in accordance with the agreed capacities.
Particular attention may be needed given to the management of attendees at events where alcohol may be present and there are event-related regulations in relation to hospitality provision on site.
As indicated above, in the case of “outdoor regulated events”, regulations also apply to any attendant proposed hospitality provision, although, if provided, Food and Beverage, may be ordered and collected from indoors, with full mitigation measures in place (social distancing in queues, face coverings etc.) and taken outdoors for consumption.
32. Attendee transport
Organisers should discuss transport to and from the event site with the local Safety Advisory Group, or equivalent, and should anticipate that, with the public concerned about social distancing, more may travel to their event by car rather than using public transport. This may necessitate additional car parking arrangements or other mitigating actions.
Organisers should consider the cumulative impact of large numbers travelling to and from an event on local transport systems. If numbers are considered as “significant” in the overall context of the local area, particular attention should be given to attendee transport and potential risk. To address this, organisers should liaise with local authorities, neighbouring businesses, travel operators and local transport authorities as well as the organisers of any other events taking place in or around the venue with a view to minimising the impact and maintaining a COVID-safe environment. This may involve adjusting or staggering entry and exit times; arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues; or advising attendees to use particular forms of transport or to avoid particular transit routes.
Advance ticketing should be considered to control parking. Alternatively, an A-Z or odd/even number approach might be used to stagger arrivals at car parks.
Organisers should also be aware that, as service providers, their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 remain in place – see The Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011. This means that it is important to continue to ensure that any event is reasonably accessible to people living with a disability and that any COVID-19 related planning actions preserve existing accessibility, such as accessible car parking and access routes around a site.
33. Seated areas
At events where the audience is seated, such as conferences, meetings and theatres, all reasonable measures must be taken to ensure social distancing is maintained throughout, and the guidance for seating in performing arts venues should be followed: Managing audiences and performances.
Key points to follow for seating can also be found here: Keep Wales Safe: guidance for tourism and hospitality.
If regulations make any provision for events described as “normally seated”, this can include temporary seating where attendees at the event would normally be seated. However, if temporary seating is deployed it remains subject to any restrictions pertaining to seated attendees, including, if applied, social distancing (and attendees must remain seated at all times except to visit toilets or to purchase food and beverage which, once purchased, should be consumed in the attendee’s -seat).
34. Ingress and egress
Getting people in and out of venues, whether an exhibition, conference or a marquee etc, needs careful managing as these are potential pinch points where social distancing may be more difficult to control. This should be considered as part of the event’s attendee management plan and those responsible for managing security and marshalling etc. should be consulted.
Special attention should be given to avoiding crowding at pinch points at key times, such as opening or closing times for the event.
Particular care needs to be taken to protect those working at these points to minimise the contact they have with attendees by taking measures such as electronic checking of tickets and asking attendees to empty bags into trays at security checkpoints.
35. Emergency egress
Every event should have an evacuation plan in case an emergency arises which requires workers and attendees to be moved away from an area or from the site altogether. This should be undertaken in consultation with those responsible for managing security and marshalling.
It should be noted that public safety should be a priority in such situations and whilst social distancing should be maintained if reasonably practicable, other factors may override this.
36. Community assurance
Organisers should be aware that local communities are sometimes wary of visitors and the risks they perceive they pose of bringing infection into the area. Where events are taking place in areas where local residents may be affected, they should take steps to inform them of the measures they are putting in place to keep everyone safe.
Appendix 1: considerations for events involving animals and show rings
Additional considerations may be necessary at events involving animals:
APHA animal health licensing and regulations
Organisers should consider how these requirements can be managed to maintain social distancing and the safety of those involved in handling animals. Due to the biosecurity regulations for animal areas, disinfectant and hand washing points are already enhanced and the use of hand sanitizer in these areas as an alternative to the use of biosecurity measures is prohibited. See The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Animal Exhibits) (Wales) Regulations 2020.
Animal disease control restrictions
Organisers must consider the current animal disease situation in Wales and check what disease control restrictions may be in place for animals, if any, at a national or local level. For example, bans on certain species of animals gathering. See the Animal Health page at Wales.Gov for further information about current disease control restrictions. Information about bird gatherings in Wales can be found at the link below:
Small animal Shows etc
A feature at some events are small animal areas where visitors can walk around and see the animals that are being judged. Social distancing rules need to be applied in these areas with clear signage directing people to follow a one-way system around exhibits. The petting of the animals in these situations needs to be assessed separately as it could provide a contact point for passing on the virus. Account should be taken of the fact that the vaccination status of visitors of a variety of ages will change and consideration should be given to the implications of visitors, including children (who may not be vaccinated), petting animals.
All reasonable precautions need to be taken to avoid cross contamination where stables and other areas are used by more than one person. Stables should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between uses.
Some materials used at events involving livestock, such as wood, cannot be disinfected. The erection of these areas should be managed to minimise cross-contact between workers and consideration should be given to using other materials at points (such as gates) that are likely to be touched by workers or the public. Covering these areas with a disinfectable material might be considered. See Keep Wales safe at work.
It is essential that in meeting the public health protection requirements, existing animal disease controls and biosecurity measures as specified by the Animal Gatherings Order are maintained. Livestock keepers should continue to follow regulatory livestock reporting and registration requirements when moving their animals to gatherings. Reporting and investigation of suspected notifiable diseases is continuing and keepers are still advised to contact their vet or APHA if they suspect disease. Additional distancing measures will remain in place if staff are to conduct investigations. See Welsh Government advice for livestock and equine owners here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for livestock and equine owners.
For green field events
See the following:
Appendix 2: definitions
Clinically extremely vulnerable:
Clinically extremely vulnerable people will have previously received a letter telling them that they are in this group, or they will have been told by their GP and will have been previously advised to shield.
Guidance on this group can be found at: Guidance on protecting people defined on medical grounds as clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus (COVID-19), previously known as ‘shielding’.
People at increased risk:
People who are at increased risk from COVID-19 include those aged 70 or over and those with some underlying health conditions. All members of this group are listed here: People at increased risk from coronavirus
Appendix 3: other guidance
Welsh Government coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance
- Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Keep Wales safe at work
- Business and employers: coronavirus
- Workplace guidance for employers and employees: COVID-19
- COVID-19 statutory sick pay enhancement scheme
- Staying safe and social distancing
- Guidance for tourism and hospitality businesses: coronavirus
- Face coverings: guidance for public
- Face coverings: guidance on measures to be taken by employers and managers of premises
- Safety and physical distancing signs for employers: coronavirus
- Equality planning and strategy
- Providing safer toilets for public use: coronavirus
- Smoke-Free Premises Legislation, Wales
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for livestock and equine owners
- Test Trace Protect
- NHS COVID-19 app
- Guidance on protecting people defined on medical grounds as clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus (COVID-19) – previously known as ‘shielding’
- Drivers' welfare at delivery and collection sites during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
- Working in or from a vehicle: coronavirus workplace guidance
- Reopening and adapting your food business during COVID-19
- Guidance for tourism and hospitality businesses: coronavirus
- UKHospitality guidance
- National Caravan Council
- Caravan and Motorhome Club
- The Association of Event Venues e-guide
- Meetings Industry Association
- Association of Event Organisers
- International Congress and Convention Association
- International Association of Convention Centres
- The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry
- Event Supplier and Services Association
- Business Visits and Event Partnership
- Events Industry Forum
- The Purple Guide (includes COVID guidance for outdoor event as well as festivals)
- Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds ‘Green Guide’
- Sport, recreation and leisure: guidance for a safe return
- Business and employers: coronavirus
- Workplace guidance for employers and employees: COVID-19
- Principles for safe urban centres and green spaces
- COVID-19: Cleaning and Disinfecting Historic Surfaces
- Principles for safe urban centres and green spaces
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) advice
- All COVID-19 security advice
- Advice on access control systems
- Advice on security guarding
- Advice on hostile reconnaissance
- COVID-19 workplace actions campaign (messaging about distancing and hygiene)