The UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has confirmed that business meetings and events for up to 30 people can continue, following some confusion over the government’s ‘Rule of 6’ announcement which went into force 14 September. UK industry body, the Meetings Industry Association (mia) said that clarification received from the government meant that business events could still take place where they follow the pre-existing Covid-Secure guidelines.
Jane Longhurst (pictured), mia chief executive, welcomed the news but noted the lack of clarity provided to venues and event organisers over the past week and said there were, “significant implications which government must recognise”.
Longhurst revealed the scale of the value lost to events businesses since the prime minister’s announcement. She said: “In the four days that have passed since the prime minister’s announcement, 76.5% of venues recently surveyed confirmed that this has led to direct event cancellations, with some cancelled events equating to values upwards of £50,000 (US$64,288). This business reflects not just much-needed revenue, but a lifeline for many venues.”
Longhurst added: “Through our UK Venue Survey last month we already know that venues have averaged a £2,398,600 loss of business to date, which coupled with restrictions on operations and the generation of revenue has led to some 126,000 job losses since the pandemic began. For a sector left at standstill for so long, cancelled business can no longer be borne, with the impending end to the government furlough scheme forecasting a further 140,00 job losses.
“If venues cannot open for business at larger capacities soon then they simply must be funded, before this £70bn economic driver is simply no more.”
The industry awaits a promised update on the review of the 1 October restart date for larger events from the UK government.