The events industry is poised to fully reopen in England on 19 July once the Government makes its final decision on moving to Step 4 on 12 July.
Addressing the public from Downing Street, 5 July, prime minister Boris Johnson said that once Step 4 is enabled, all restrictions would be lifted, becoming optional in most circumstances, and that there would be no legal requirement for any form of Covid-status certification – proof of vaccination, negative test, or natural antibodies.
This would mean that events of all types would not need to enforce social distancing or enforce the wearing of face coverings. However, the prime minister did say that individual event organisers may wish to implement their own measures, which may include their own version of Covid-status certification, face coverings or restricted capacities. Essentially, organisers will need to respond to the sentiments of their delegates or visitors.
The prime minister reiterated that no final decision would be made on the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ until 12 July. Alongside chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance, prime minister Johnson said that the link between infection and hospitalisation (and subsequent mortality) had been “weakened”, although not completely broken.
Professor Chris Whitty warned that some restrictions may be required in the winter months but did not elaborate beyond echoing prime minister Johnson that the Covid-19 pandemic was “not over.”
The prime minister announced a five-step plan to be affected post 19 July, which includes reducing the time between vaccination doses from 12 to eight weeks and maintaining border controls.
Speaking on behalf of the UK Events Industry Alliance (EIA), Chris Skeith said he was “delighted” to hear the announcement that the events sector is soon to be released, mitigation and capacity free come 19 July, subject to the 12 July confirmation.
“We would like to thank everyone – members and non-members, officials and supporters – for their contributions, collaboration, and unity to date, and more so now than ever as we restart the sector, we must continue to work together to rebuild our wonderful industry.
“We finally have a full ‘go date’, however we must ensure this is not taken away, and there are still a number of issues to resolve as we restart and rebuild, such as guidance, insurance, skills and talent gaps, Brexit and the need for financial support for the sector until we are back up to speed.
“While we can take a moment to celebrate, we must remain steadfast in our dialogue with government to ensure we are front and centre in future policy and decision making, and the economic benefits of events are recognised in the rebuilding of the UK economy.”
Virgin Atlantic’s CEO, Shai Weiss, responded to the news from London: “The UK Government’s announcement that fully vaccinated UK residents will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving into the UK from ‘amber’ countries from 19 July is a positive development. Providing assurance for consumers and businesses who can now book and travel with greater confidence. With the launch of a proof of concept trial on selected US and Caribbean routes from this week, we are ready to implement the new policy and to work with Government and authorities to ensure safe and seamless international travel.
“The Government’s announcement should now lead to significant changes to the ‘green’ list and further relaxation of testing requirements for fully vaccinated passengers of all nationalities arriving into the UK from ‘green’ and ‘amber’ destinations from 31 July. This approach is consistent with that taken by the US and the EU to fully vaccinated passengers, and will pave the way to restart of the essential Transatlantic travel corridor, without which £23m is lost each day from the UK economy.”