Scotland’s Event Industry Advisory Group met again yesterday (23 September) to discuss the implications for the events & festivals sector following the latest COVID-19 restrictions announced by the Scottish Government.
The latest restrictions have resulted in a pause to the programme of pilot events as the country seeks to return spectators to events, signalling more disappointment for an industry that has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spectators had previously been allowed to attend pilot events in football and rugby in limited numbers while plans were also in place for spectators at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open golf event from 1-4 October with a view to continuing to test and develop best practice initiatives and scale up the return of spectators to events.
The group, comprising 17 representatives from a range of organisations across the sector, were joined by John Harden, Deputy National Clinical Director, to highlight the significant challenges facing event organisers and supply chain businesses.
Representatives highlighted the professional and robust approach taken by event organisers during pilot events delivered to date and the ability of these events to deliver an environment as safe, or even more so, than other industries which are currently permitted to operate.
The case for the continuation of the job retention scheme or similar funding programme for the sector was also highlighted as critical to the survival of an industry so that events can restart when the situation allows.
Progress is also being made on workstreams in relation to communications and public confidence, health & wellbeing, event guidance and hygiene and government engagement.
Members of the group were appreciative of John Harden giving up his time to join the meeting and although discussions were robust given the perilous situation facing the industry, they were also constructive with a consensus on a return of events as soon as it is safe to do so. The approach taken by the EIAG to constructively look for solutions has been well received and we look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government to support the industry through these hugely difficult times.