BVEP calls for urgent government guidelines on reopening the event sector

Industry could face 'catastrophic' job losses if physical distancing rules are not relaxed.

The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has warned of "a catastrophic and irreversible" impact on the UK events industry without clear and practical guidelines on the reopening sector. 

It is also calling on the government to relax the current two-metre physical distancing rule. 

This statement comes at the same time as Meetings Industry Association (MIA) research revealing that nearly three-quarters of UK venues are forecasting a greater than 60% reduction in revenue, if social distancing restrictions remain at two metres.

“We have been providing advice and information to the government for almost four months now," said Simon Hughes, chair of the BVEP. "Yet we are now expected to continue waiting for decisions to be made over the release of guidance for the entire visitor economy, and a start date for the event industry to begin rebuilding our significant contribution to that economy. We now consider that to be unacceptable."

In light of the huge debate taking place over the current two-metre physical distancing measure, the BVEP has decided to share its research on the business impacts of social distancing measures. It shows a clear threat to over £53 billion of GDP and the potential loss of 500,000 jobs.

“There are only three countries in the world currently operating on the two metre social distancing model – Canada, Spain and the UK," added Hughes. "This is a risk based assessment, not a rule founded on the best available guidance. 

"It is also putting the UK under a massive competitive disadvantage, as other competitive markets open up ahead of us with different protocols and regimes to help manage the risks in a variety of ways that don’t rely exclusively on social distancing measures.

“If clear guidance that allows the event industry to open up safely is not received by the end of June at the very latest, our world class industry, which has taken decades to build, will be decimated. 

"Based on the evidence that we’ve seen the overall loss of GDP, if we have to operate with the current two metres of physical distancing will be £53 billion, while at one metre it will be £42.5bn. Based on achieving only 25% of potential business in the two metre scenario, this puts over 500,000 jobs at risk.”

Over the weekend, both the prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government would review the two-metre distancing rule as the number of coronavirus cases fall. 

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