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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 10 September 2021

The Scottish Parliament has approved the use of Coronavirus vaccination certificates to enter some events and specified venues.

On Thursday 9 September, MSPs voted in favour of the measure which will come into effect on Friday 1 October. This is aimed at reducing risk while maximising our ability to keep open certain settings and events where transmission is a higher risk and encouraging uptake of the vaccine. 

Proof of vaccination will be required to enter: 

  • nightclubs 

  • adult entertainment venues 

  • unseated indoor live events, with more than 500 people in the audience 

  • unseated outdoor live events, with more than 4,000 people in the audience 

  • any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance 

The Scottish Government continues to work with sectors affected to ensure that a workable and proportionate scheme is developed. 

The proposal document for the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination certification scheme for Scotland which was agreed in Parliament can be read on the Scottish Government website.

More information on the plans for vaccine certification is also available on the Scottish Government website.

Updated 1 September 2021

The First Minister proposed that a debate should take place in Parliament w/c 6 September to discuss the possibility of Vaccine Certification (VC). They propose VC should be introduced in late September for the following events and venues (not the hospitality industry as a whole):

  • nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
  • unseated indoor live events, with more than 500 people in the audience
  • unseated outdoor live events, with more than 4,000 people in the audience
  • any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance

From Friday 3 September, people will be able to download a PDF copy of their vaccination certificate, with a personalised QR code, to print off instantly or store on their mobile phone for use domestically or internationally. This is in addition to the existing paper letters that can be requested from NHS Inform and the Coronovirus Helpline.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccination certification, visit the Scottish Government website.

The full First Minister's statement from 1 September is also avalable on the Scotish Government website.

Updated 27 August 2021

The First Minister provided a statement on COVID-19.

With COVID-19 cases rising in Scotland, the Scottish Government is asking all sectors, as part of a collective wider effort to help reduce the spread of the virus.  Guidance on precautionary and mandatory measures has been published.

In addition, it was announced that International travellers to Scotland will be able to use private sector COVID-19 tests.  People will be able to use private sector tests when returning, or visiting, from green or amber list countries under a change to international travel restrictions. For more information, visit our international traveller COVID-19 tests news story. 

Updated 3 August 2021

On Tuesday (3 August), the First Minister confirmed that Scotland would move beyond Level 0 on Monday 9 August as planned and there will no longer be a need for physical distancing laws.

She did, however, stress that this did not indicate the end of the pandemic and that care and caution is still required. While no venues will be legally required to close, face coverings will still be a legal requirement in indoor settings and this will more than likely continue for some time. Venues will also still be required to take customer details with contact tracing still deemed necessary.

With regard to the events industry, the First Minister said there would continue to be a careful managing of the return of large scale events.

For a limited period, the Scottish Government will keep in place the process through which event organisers of outdoor events of more than 5,000 people and indoor events of more than 2,000 people will need to apply to their local authority for permission to go ahead with higher capacities. This will allow the government and local authorities to be assured of the arrangements in place to reduce risk of transmission.

Useful Links

Read more information on event sector guidance.


Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: 16 July 2021

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 Event Recovery Fund is now open and available for applications. The £2.75m fund is designed to support the restart of events and help organisers meet the additional costs of COVID-19 mitigation in event planning and delivery. For more information on the fund and how to apply, visit the 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.

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 is available while the group’s terms of reference and a list of members can be seen below. Summary notes from each EIAG meeting can be found here

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