The latest meeting of Scotland’s Event Industry Advisory Group saw members joined by Scottish Government officials for discussions around the implementation of guidance ahead of the proposed return of events from 17 May.
The Scottish Government has recently published draft guidance in relation to the implementation of COVID-19 mitigation measures in advance of relaxation of a reopening of some sectors as part of its COVID-19 Strategic Framework.
Members of the EIAG were given the opportunity to discuss the guidelines as they relate to events with elements such as greater clarity on expectations and timescales on relaxation of physical distancing rules and a consistent approach across all settings high on the agenda.
The group highlighted the challenge in assessing venue capacities for events under the current guidance and called for more event-specific guidance given the expertise that exists within the industry in managing crowds. It also highlighted the inconsistent approach with hospitality settings able to operate under a 1m physical distancing rule while outdoor stadia still has to comply with a 2m rule.
A key area of concern was the disadvantages faced by event organisers in Scotland with events in England able to plan around dates announced by the UK Government for the relaxation of physical distancing.
The group also received updates on the Scottish Government’s Gateway Events Programme to allow a small number of flagship events to take place during the summer period as well as the exemption process which will allow other events to apply to Local Authorities and Scottish Government for a greater number of attendees than permitted within the current guidance.
Members of the group called for clear guidance to be issued to Local Authorities on this to ensure a fair, balanced and consistent approach across the country.
Updates were also received regarding a planned webinar for the events industry to relay information around the guidelines in the coming weeks with more information to be issued on this soon while a research project into the health & well being benefits of events is underway and expected to be concluded in early May.
The coming weeks are vital for the events and festivals industry in Scotland to be able to plan for the summer and beyond with a level of clarity and the guidance from Scottish Government is pivotal to that.
Members of the Event Industry Advisory Group have consistently and robustly represented the views of the industry to Scottish Government and the discussions around the guidance, particularly in relation to physical distancing and timelines, have proven extremely beneficial.