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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 go to the VisitScotland coronavirus advice page.  

Current situation

Updated 13 April 2021

On the 13 April, the First Minister announced an easing of restrictions will take place from the 16 April allowing travel across Scotland for outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise. Outdoor meetings in groups of up to six adults from up to six households will also be allowed from 16 April, with under-12s not counting towards this limit. Socialising in homes is still not permitted.  Should data permit, the whole of Scotland, including all island communities, will then be in Level 3 from Monday 26 April.

From 26 April, drive-in events will have the opportunity to resume. All other live events are not permitted, and stadia must be closed to spectators. From 17 May some outdoor and indoor events will be able to take place (all conditional on supportive data). In addition, there will be further work to develop a process and guidance for events with proposed numbers above the standard limits. Specific restrictions on capacities are to be discussed and agreed in the coming weeks in consultation with the events industry.

Scotland's Strategic Framework

On 23 February, the Scottish Government published a revised Strategic Framework and revealed the initial stages of the revised road map out of lockdown.

On 13 April , the Scottish Government announced further details to the  revised road map out of lockdown with Scotland returning to a levels system of coronavirus restrictions from the 26 April with the entirety of the country, including the islands moving into level 3 restrictions. Following this, the levels will be reviewed at three-week intervals with an indicative return of some small-scale events anticipated for the review on 17 May.

Local Protection Levels

The holding and delivery of events is covered across each of the five protection levels. They are:

  • Level zero – Maximum capacities* Indoors: 400 Outdoors seated: 2,000 Outdoors free-standing: 1,000
  • Level one – Maximum capacities* Indoors: 200 Outdoors seated: 1,000 Outdoors free-standing: 500
  • Level two – Maximum capacities* Indoors: 100 Outdoors seated: 500 Outdoors free-standing: 250.
  • Level three - Closed with the exception of drive in events.
  • Level four – Closed.

*higher capacities can be agreed through local authority/Scottish Government

The Scottish Government is currently working on modifications to restrictions in some levels, read the current PDF table for summary information on what you can and cannot do at each level

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 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 last December 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

Frequently asked questions 

Q: 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. See our coronavirus advice section for more information.

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.