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Sector will enter ‘free fall’ without support, say associations

Without a package of support, the meetings and events sector will enter into free fall.

That was the stark message from the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), Association of Event Venues (AEV) and Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), responding to the government’s Covid-19 statement on Tuesday 22 September.

A joint statement from the AEO, AEV and ESSA said: “The statement made by the Government yesterday was a severe blow to our industry and all of those individuals and businesses that operate within it. Our sector has already been decimated by enforced closure during the past seven months, and extending restrictions, without a package of support, will see it enter free fall.

“The AEO, AEV and ESSA have already provided information to the DCMS regarding our requests for a support package. We continue to work with them, and our sector allies, to lobby this position.

“The three associations have responded directly to yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, that exhibitions and conferences would no longer be permitted to take place from 1st October and for a possible further six months. We have been working into the night seeking clarity on the announcement, to engage directly with government officials, and with other industry partners.

“There will not be a minute wasted, we are working on your behalf, striving to attain the support we all need and, importantly, bringing back well managed and controlled events.”

Meanwhile, the Meetings Industry Association (mia) has confirmed that business events of up to 30 people can continue. The mia sought clarification from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on the issue following the prime minister’s statement.

The mia guidance on operating events safely is available here: https://www.mia-uk.org/write/MediaUploads/Roadmap_to_reopening_and_operating_safely_(Version_3).pdf