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This advice has been prepared in response to the concerns in the events industry and is correct at the time of publication.  As the situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to change, this advice is specifically for the events industry and is based on current Scottish Government guidelines.   

Here you will find:

For wider advice for the tourism industry visit the VisitScotland coronavirus advice page.  

Current situation

Updated 7 December

On Tuesday (7 December), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon provided the latest three-week COVID-19 review point update to the Scottish Parliament. In her statement she confirmed the Cabinet decision to keep all of the current protections in place, with no immediate changes.

However, in light of the rapid developing Omicorn situation, any additional protections, such as the extension of COVID-19 certification, will now be viewed on a daily basis rather than weekly at this stage.

The First Minister outlined that it is vital to not just maintain, but to strengthen compliance with the current protections to ensure all we are taking all of the steps required to minimise the risk of getting or spreading this virus, and give the best chance of avoiding any additional protections.

This includes wearing face coverings in indoor public places; ventilating rooms by opening windows; ensuring good hand hygiene; working from home wherever practical; and testing and isolating.

The First Minister also outlined the principles that guide any decisions government may have to take in the days and weeks ahead. The first principle will be to seek to do what is necessary to keep the country as safe as possible, even if that is sometimes at the expense of being popular. The second is to strive to get the right balance between acting proportionately and acting preventatively.

Vaccine certification verification

This scheme came into effect on Friday 1 October and applies to:

For live events, ‘unseated’ includes events where some audience members are seated and some standing. ‘Attendees’ means the number of people attending the event. For multi-day events or events with different time slots – it is the number of people attending on any day or time slot. It does not include staff, contractors, performers or volunteers involved in the delivery of the event.

Further details on applicable events and venues, along with exemptions and recommendations on how to best adhere to these restrictions, are available on the Scottish Government website

From Monday 6 December, people attending venues and events covered by Scotland's COVID-19 certification scheme are to be given the option of providing a recent negative lateral flow test for the virus, as an alternative to proof of vaccination.  

This means that individuals who received a vaccine not recognised by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), or have experienced difficulty accessing their vaccination record, will be able to attend venues covered by the scheme. A Vaccine Certification Verification Toolkit has been produced by Scottish Government to assist businesses and event organisers. It includes details of security features and official document examples.

Visit the NHS Scotland COVID check website to read more about the toolkit.

Useful links

Visit the Scottish Government website to read more information on event sector guidance.


Monitoring the impact

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a major impact on sporting, cultural and business events.  As part of our continued work to support the events sector throughout this period, we have undertaken both workshops and surveys to gather insight and intelligence on the ongoing issues faced by the sector.    

Take a look at our insights for further results from our industry surveys.


A number of funding opportunities have been available to event-related businesses.

Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund (SERF) was established in conjunction with Scottish Government to help Scotland’s events sector plan and deliver events and to provide support as the industry responded and adapted to the effects of COVID-19.

A total of £2.75 million was made available in November 2020 to support the safe delivery of events in Scotland as we moved through COVID-19, in accordance with relevant Scottish Government legislation and guidance. This fund is now closed for applications.

For more information, visit our dedicated Scotland's Events Recovery Fund page.

The £6m Pivotal Event Businesses Fund was open to event businesses whose primary role as organisers, suppliers, contractors and venues is critical to the survival of the events sector in Scotland, and upon whom the wider events industry and supply chain are most reliant for their own business and operations. This fund is now closed for Expressions of Interest.

For more information, visit our dedicated Pivotal Event Businesses Fund page.

The £6m Events Industry Support Fund provided financial help for businesses in the events industry who had not been ineligible for the various funding packages announced by the Scottish Government following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). This fund is now closed for applications.

On 28 January further details of the additional £7million of funding were announced by the Scottish Government to help the sector deal with the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

For more information visit our dedicated Events Industry Supply Funds page.

Additional event-specific funding opportunities made available by the Scottish Government or VisitScotland will be listed here as they are confirmed.

For information on other business support available, including the Strategic Framework Business Fund, please see our financial support page.

Advice for events

You should continue to monitor and follow Government advice in order to take the action appropriate to your event and the ongoing situation in relation to the COVID-19 virus. 

In preparation for a situation where you may have to cancel or postpone your event, it is advised that you consider the following so that you are well prepared to minimise disruption:  

  • Check your insurance policy for cancellation cover and make contact with your insurer to discuss the terms of your cover 

  • Engage in discussion early with key stakeholders and operational partners before deciding to cancel or postpone an event  

  • Review your budget and consider wider obligations to your contractors, suppliers and customers, to understand any financial implications linked to cancellation  

  • Consider potential impact on funding and commercial agreements 

  • Consider potential impacts on performers, participants, staff and volunteers 

  • Consider options to postpone or alternative delivery solutions e.g. behind closed doors approach, use of livestreaming 

  • Check your ticketing T&Cs and ensure that you are clear about your ticketing refund strategy and that the impact of cancellation or postponement is understood and communicated effectively to your customers  

  • If you do not have one in place, a communications strategy is advised in order to inform your stakeholders, staff, attendees / ticket holders, media, contractors, suppliers and general public 

  • Check that you have adequate staff available to be able to deal with refunds, enquiries and crisis communications 

  • Consider whether your website or ticketing systems are capable of handling increased traffic 

Event Industry Advisory Group

The Event Industry Advisory Group has been established to represent the events and festivals sector amid the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a co-ordinated voice during the national response and recovery planning.

More information on the Event Industry Advisory Group, as well as summary notes from each meeting, is available on our dedicated page on this site.

The group’s terms of reference and a list of members can be seen below.

Work is ongoing to share further outputs from the group. Businesses and individuals with issues to raise with the group or with specific questions should contact

Event Industry Advisory Group

Published June 2020

Terms of Reference for Event Industry Advisory Group

EIAG membership

Published December 2020

Updated December 2020

Industry Research and Guidance

We are working with partners across the industry to share the most relevant research and information during these difficult times. We hope some of the following links will be of use to you and your colleagues:

British Visits & Events Partnership – UK Events Report 2020

Published June 2020

How events deliver the UK's industrial strategy

World Health Organisation Guidance on Mass Gatherings

Published June 2020

Key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19

After the Interval Audience Survey - Wave 1 Findings

Published June 2020

Audience views on returning to live cultural events, booking tickets now and in the future, and missing out on events during lockdown.

After the Interval Audience Survey - Wave 2 Findings

Published June 2020

Audience views on returning to live cultural events, booking tickets now and in the future, and missing out on events during lockdown.

National Audience Research Findings - Act 2

Published July 2020

Audience views on booking tickets now, returning to live cultural events with social distancing, and experiencing culture in different formats.

Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak - a short guide

Published June 2020

A guide is aimed at all employers and those who are self-employed and work with or near other people

Working safely during COVID-19 in drive-in cinemas

Published June 2020

UK Cinema Association published guidance on 14 June for the re-opening of drive-in cinemas

Communications advice

We’ve prepared some guidance which provides some over-arching practical tips to help you prepare communications in the event of cancellation/ postponement.  

Communications advice - COVID-19

Published March 2020

Tips to help your event communications throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak