Business events of up to 30 can continue, confirms mia

Business events for up to 30 people can still take place where they follow the pre-existing Covid-Secure guidelines, it has been confirmed.

Last week’s rule of six announcement from prime minister Boris Johnson did not specify whether business events were affected by the new limit. However, the Meetings Industry Association has now obtained the much-needed clarification from government that the previous limit of 30 people is still applicable.

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the Meetings Industry Association said: “Throughout the course of the pandemic we have lobbied rigorously to demonstrate the harrowing impact Covid-19 has had on the industry, so we are delighted to have received confirmation today that business meetings and events holding up to 30 people can continue.”

While welcoming the clarification, Longhurst also condemned the government’s messaging, saying that confusion over the rule of six regulations had led to direct event cancellations and loss of revenue for businesses already struggling. She also called on the government to fund meeting and event venues to help them survive.

She said: “While this is welcomed news, the lack of clarity provided to venues and event organisers respectively over the course of the last week does however hold significant implications which government must recognise. In the four days that have passed since the prime minister’s announcement, 76.5 per cent of venues recently surveyed confirmed that this has led to direct event cancellations, with some cancelled events equating to values upwards of £50,000. This business reflects not just much-needed revenue, but a lifeline for many venues.

“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.”