Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba

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

For wider advice for the tourism industry go to the VisitScotland coronavirus advice page.  

Current situation

On 23 March both the UK and Scottish Governments called for an immediate stop to public gatherings of more than two people in a bid to flatten the curve of Covid-19 spread and protect the NHS. 

Following a meeting of the UK Government’s COBR committee, an effective ban is in place on gatherings in public places, excluding household groups or in a work-related capacity. In Scotland, the Scottish Government is introducing emergency legislation from Thursday 26 March to enforce this. You can view the Scottish Government’s statement here

In light of this latest Government advice, no events involving the gathering of people should be taking place for a period at least three weeks following the statement on 23 March. Both the UK and Scottish Governments have advised they will review the situation after a period of three weeks.

Monitoring the impact

During this unprecedented period, it's important that we keep an eye on what our competitors are doing, how the industry is reacting and the sentiment and behaviours of our target audiences.

Here you will find the results from our industry surveys and our latest market intelligence report. Take a look at our insights.

Advice for events

Event cancellation   

If your event is not affected by the current Government advice and you have yet to take the decision to cancel or postpone, 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 

Frequently asked questions 

I don’t have a crisis communications plan, what should I do? 
A: 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

Q: My event has contracts in place with self-employed staff. What advice should I provide? 
A: This is a difficult time for employers and employees as well as those who are self-employed. The UK and Scottish Governments have introduced a number of support packages depending on your individual circumstances. More information is available here.

Q: In the event of cancellation, how do I deal with refunds? 
A: Check your ticketing T&C’s and speak to your insurers in the first instance and then plan how you communicate any decisions to ticket holders with the support from your ticket agents / box office team and ensure staff are in place to deal with enquiries and possible complaints.    

Q: I have received EventScotland grant funding and am planning to cancel my event. What should I do? 
A: Please contact your EventScotland Event Manager to discuss, they will be able to give you the most up to date advice specific to your event. 


If you have further questions, please email the EventScotland team at We aim to respond to your enquiry within 24hrs or the next working day Monday – Friday. 

For wider advice for the tourism industry go to the VisitScotland coronavirus advice page

Scottish Enterprise business helpline

Any business in Scotland seeking further general advice should contact the dedicated Scottish Enterprise helpline on 0300 303 0660.  

The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. 

Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team.