When Can Live Events Restart?
The Road Map Out of Lockdown
For almost a year live events have been on hold, but finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So we ask: realistically, when can live events restart?
When Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced his road map out of lockdown, the nation jumped for joy. It was an especially momentous occasion for those of us in the event sector. The majority of which has not operated since lockdown restrictions were first introduced last March.
If all goes to plan and Coronavirus infection rates in the UK continue to fall, we could see live events return as early as 17 May. Better still, all restrictions could be lifted by 21 June.
While this is promising news for the events industry, including ourselves, if Coronavirus has taught us anything, it is unpredictable. Therefore, planning for a best and worst scenario is very wise.
Let’s take a look at the conditions, phases and options for the return of live events.
The Four Steps Out of Lockdown
The rate at which we come out of Lockdown depends entirely on the four steps that Boris outlined in his briefing on 22 February. These include:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
When Can Live Events Restart?
The big question for many of us in the event industry is: when can live events restart?
First things first, we need to appreciate that there will be five weeks between every stage of the lockdown restrictions easing. This is to allow the relevant data to be gathered, analysed and one week’s notice period for businesses to put the wheels in motion for reopening.
If all goes according to plan, events will restart for the first time since March 2020. For the purposes of those planning an event in 2021, we have listed some of the event-specific dates within Boris’ road map out of lockdown.
Best Case Scenario: Planning for Events in 2021
The government’s roadmap out of lockdown certainly gives us an indication of the best-case scenario. All going well events will resume without the requirement for social distancing measures or capacity restrictions. This means we could experience ‘normal life’ for the first time in over a year.
The return of exhibitions, conferences, concerts, festivals, weddings and more will be a welcome sigh of relief for the event sector, as well as all businesses, artists, performers and the public who rely on events for communications and as a platform for entertainment.
Worst Case Scenario: Covid-19 Infection Rates Rise
As you will have already established, the worst case scenario is that the vaccine proves ineffective in controlling the infection rates of Covid-19. The NHS becomes overwhelmed once more and we can assume restrictions on gatherings and social contact will remain.
Yes, we could all be free as of 21 June, or we could be back at square one.
Realistically, we can be optimistic here; UK infection rates are falling and will hopefully continue to do so, as Boris Johnson implements his road map out of lockdown.
As a country, we are advancing the fight on Coronavirus. Consequently, the UK is in a pivitol position for hosting and running global events.
In the news recently Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed the UK made offers to UEFA to host extra games for the Euros 2020. Despite the offer being declined, it plants the seed for other international events.
Looking at the bigger picture, the UK event sector is likely to reopen before our European neighbours.
However, there are still many risks to consider, and a Plan B is very much advisable. If we can be certain of anything it’s the uncertainty caused by Coronavirus.
Planning for a Plan B
The government has been clear that lockdown restrictions will only be eased if we see a continuous reduction of infection rates. That includes infections caused by existing and new strains of Coronavirus.
Event planners have three options here:
- Plan for a total lift of lockdown restrictions on 21 June
- Wait to see what happens
- Go ahead with option 1, but have a Plan B
Remaining cautious is a very wise decision, but what if a Plan B means you can organise a live event and have a back-up plan in case social restrictions remain. The Plan B is – need we say it – a hybrid or virtual event.
Unlike the first lockdown, the events sector is now fully equipped to host events online. In a short period of time, the event sector has revolutionised virtual events using advanced conferencing software and technical production.
Virtual Event Back-Up
Having a virtual production back-up plan for your conference, concert or exhibition is a sensible option. Learning to keep calm and carry on in the face of adversity is what we have come accustomed to as a sector. Therefore, by factoring in virtual event production within you risk assessment is a wise decision.
How TPP Can Help
We offer a range of hybrid and virtual event production solutions, which implement software that optimises audience engagement. We know that nothing beats in-person events, but we have developed virtual event packages that offer the next best thing.
To find out more, visit our virtual event production page. Here you can discover more about hybrid event production, office and home video production studios, and our own virtual studio.