Licensing - Major Events

Events - Covid Secure

When people attend events it is often to socialise. This can lead to attendees engaging in more risky behaviours. They might also take less notice of the rules around social distancing or contravene government guidance. This behaviour is foreseeable. It must be anticipated by event organisers. You must put in place control measures to reduce these risks. The measures might be over and above your normal trading procedures, but the prevention of a spike in virus cases is essential.

For information on how to organise and manage an event view our COVID-19 Secure Event guidance

Event organisers must submit a detailed COVID-19 Risk Assessment and Event Management Plan. This provides information about the proposed activities and the measures that will be in place to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as part of their application. Please review and complete the Risk Assessment Checklist  before submission.

Please also refer to the latest Government guidance on Organising Outdoor Events.

Additional guidance

Event Industry Forum guidance on outdoor events: Keeping workers and audiences safe during COVID-19 (England)

The Association of Event Organisers have published a list of measures. These can be used in conjunction with event risk assessments. From small scale events with minimum requirements to those which are more complex.  Download or print off: Key-measures

Risk assessment templates suitable for smaller events are available at: Risk-Assessment- Managing-the-risk-of-Coronavirus

Risk assessment templates suitable for larger, more complex are available at: Draft Risk Assessment Template for Covid-19

2021 Events following Government's Re-Opening Roadmap

Licensing have received a number of queries from organisers. These queries ask if we are in a position to provide further clarity regarding the conditions under which events will operate from the 17 May and 21 June 2021.

The wording in the Government’s re-opening roadmap for step three is:

“In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits. Sectors which will reopen include:

  • Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events.
  • Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted,
  • as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower”.

“In addition, pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme. This is to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing”.

“The Government will bring the findings from across different sectors and different settings to determine a consistent approach to lifting restrictions on these events. Depending on the outcome of this work, the Government hopes to be able to lift restrictions on these events and sectors as part of Step 4”.

The guidance relating to Step 4, which is no earlier than the 21 June 2021, states:

“With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step 4, the Government aims to:

  • remove all legal limits on social contact, publishing accompanying guidance on how best to reduce the risk of transmission and protect ourselves and loved ones;
  • reopen the remaining closed settings, including nightclubs and enable large events, including theatre performances, above the Step 3 capacity restrictions. Subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme and potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection, subject to further evaluation;
  • remove all limits on weddings and other life events, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.


Therefore the degree of relaxation of social distancing and other non-pharmaceutical interventions will be determined by the pilot test events. These are to be held during April 2021 with the results incorporated into the Step 3 and 4 reopening guidance.

On this basis, you are strongly advised that there may still be the continuing restrictions after 21 June 2021.

In the meantime we have no alternative but to continue to consider event plans in line with the current measures as a worst case scenario. These can then be amended depending on the regulations at the time of the event.  

If you have an existing licence which by virtue of the conditions attached to it requires you to submit Event Plans and any other documentation within certain deadlines prior to the event. You will still need to submit risk assessments and plans to show how you intend to ensure that your event is COVID safe.

If the correct authorisations are not yet in place, either through an existing premises licence, or temporary event notice, then you will be required to obtain the relevant authorisation for your event in the usual way. Under the prescribed timescales as set out in the Licensing Act 2003. In addition to this, supporting documentation must still be submitted detailing how you, as the event organiser, will ensure your event is COVID safe. COVID risk assessments must be submitted either at the time of applying for a premises licence, or a minimum of one month before the event.

If your event does not require an authorisation under the Licensing Act 2003 because you are not carrying out any licensable activities, you will still be required to submit a COVID risk assessment at least one month before your event by emailing:  

Please remember that the 21 June 2021 is an indicator only. The roadmap to recovery states “no earlier” than 21 June 2021, so it is possible that some requirements will still be in existence beyond this point.