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Event Safety Advisory Group

Holding a COVID-19 safe event

The Government has produced non statutory guidance on how to organise events safely while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. The key advice for workplaces and events remains in place during Plan B. Workspaces and events should:

  1. Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes risks from COVID-19. 
  2. Turn people with COVID-19 symptoms away. 
  3. Provide adequate ventilation.
  4. Clean more often. 
  5. Enable people to check in at your venue. 
  6. Communicate and train. Keep all your workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures.

The full guidance is available on GOV.UK events and attractions

  • Assess the risks relevant to your event and put in place practical measures to reduce them.  There are templates and additional information on to help.
  • Check to see if there is sector specific Government Guidance on 
  • Display NHS QR codes so that participants / customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app if they want to.  This will help to reduce the spread of the virus and protect your customers, visitors and staff. You do not have to ask customers to check in, or turn them away if they refuse.  If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details, for those who ask to check in but who do not have access to a smartphone or who prefer not to use the app.
  • Consider how best to communicate information to attendees so they are aware of relevant information before they attend, and that messaging during the event (such as signage and audio announcements) supports the communication of any relevant safety measures.  Take steps to ensure that customers who have symptoms or who are self-isolating do not attend your facility.
  • Ensure your risk assessment includes protocols for managing suspected or confirmed cases amongst attendees.  Do not admit customers who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.  If an attendee presents with symptoms, or you become aware of a case of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 on-site, they should not be admitted or should be asked to leave the facility or event, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment.  If you have the provision, arrange for your medical staff to assess them on site, and provide them with a supervised lateral flow test.  Identify a safe space at your event where these conversations can take place.
  • Take steps to reduce the risk of transmission at the event, including putting in place cleaning and hygiene protocols, and ensuring your venue has adequate ventilation.  Advise customers and workers to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser frequently. Provide additional handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser, particularly in high-traffic or higher-risk areas, such as reception and entrance foyers, doorways, lifts and bathroom facilities.
  • Encourage customers and visitors to wear face coverings, for example through signage, if your facility or event is likely to include enclosed and crowded spaces.  Face coverings are no longer required by law, but the government expects and recommends that people should continue to wear them in crowded and enclosed settings, to protect themselves and others. Where worn correctly, this can reduce the risk of transmission.  Support your workers who choose to wear a face covering in the workplace.
  • Managing customers, spectators and audiences – There are no capacity caps on the number of people permitted to attend visitor attractions or events. However, you may wish to take steps to ensure customers can attend as safely as possible, for example by introducing one-way systems to minimise crowding, and minimising unnecessary contacts, for example through the use of online booking and contactless payments. 
  • Consider through your risk assessment whether your workers need personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Consider using the NHS COVID Pass to reduce the risk of transmission at your venue or event.  The NHS COVID Pass will be available through the NHS App, the NHS website, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Visitors will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results.  You can find more information in the NHS COVID Pass guidance.
  • Engage with your Event Safety Advisory Group and other relevant bodies early in your event planning process, to ensure your event can take place as safely as possible.  If your event is on Council land (for example on a highway) you will need to get to request permission before arranging your event.

Although it is not mentioned specifically in the guidance, the Humber Local Authorities would also recommend that Event Organisers:

  • appoint a dedicated and competent COVID-19 officer, responsible for compliance with COVID-19 measures during the event
  • encourage attendees to ensure they have a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending the event and consider arrangements for collecting this evidence as part of the entry procedures.
  • ensure that all staff are carrying out twice weekly lateral flow device (LFD) tests before during and after the event.
  • Have staff work in bubbles if this is possible and practical.
  • have contingency plans in for loss of key staffing due to the self isolation, and the contingencies to cancel the event at short notice
  • use the Public Health England COVID19 Mass Gathering Risk Assessment Tool at Appendix 2 to self-assess the COVID risk presented by your event.  If you event is Amber, Orange or Red, please get in touch with your local authority who will provide advice on your COVID safe risk assessment. 

Please be aware that local authorities continue to have the power to place public health restrictions on businesses and events in cases where there is a serious and imminent threat to public health posed by COVID-19.

These powers can only be used where it is necessary in public health terms, and any prohibitions, requirements or conditions imposed by the Direction would be proportionate to the risk and carried out in full discussion with the event organiser. 

When this guidance was updated in December 2021, there was a high prevalence of COVID and uncertainty about the impact of the omicron variant.Event organisers will wish to carefully consider the increased likelihood of an intervention by the Director of Public health on their event.


Where the number of mass attendance events grows as the nations of the UK come out of their various lockdown arrangements, a need has been identified to assess the risk of those events and ensure that appropriate mitigations are in place. To make this simpler and consistent the following tool is proposed. It works in a similar manner to the risk assessment tool in the ‘Purple Guide’ for managing safety at crowd events.

The Tool

The tool simply provides a score based on key factors to be considered for the event. Each element has a score based on criteria within that element. The user selects that score and then at the end of the process sums all the individual scores. This gives an overall risk score for the event. From that score, a rating can be assigned to the event and appropriate action taken.

Number of people<5001
 500 – 2,0002
 2,000 – 5,0004
 5,000 – 10,0008
 > 10,00010
SpacingExpected to be >2m1
 2m – 1m6
 Indoors, good ventilation4
 Indoors, average ventilation6
 Indoors, poor ventilation10
Event Duration< 3 hours1
 3 – 6 hours2
 6 – 12 hours3
 12 – 24 hours4
 24 – 48 hours5
 >48 hours6
Travel FootprintLocal Travel1
 Travel within UK Region4
 Travel within England6
 UK Travel8
 International Travel10
Travel RoutesMostly Private Transport1
 Mix of Private and Public Transport4
 Mostly Public Transport8

The total gives a risk rating on a four-colour rating

Risk ScoreRating
6 to 20Green
21 to 33Amber
34 to 44Orange
45 to 54Red

This rating will determine actions need to mitigate the risk.

The Factors

Each of the factors has a number of criteria. Where an event factor meets a range of criteria, the one with the highest score is to be used. The scoring varies from factor to factor and is not necessarily linear. Most are self-explanatory

Number of people

The number of people expected to attend the event over the event’s duration.


This is the expected distancing between individuals that are not in the same family group or bubble.


How well ventilated the event is. The criteria may need more specific definition as to what constitutes good, average and poor ventilation for indoor events.

Event Duration

The total duration of the event from the first admission until all attendees have left. For example, a football match would need to include from when the gates open until all the spectators have left.

Travel Footprint

How far people travel to the event. Is it something just attended by the local population, from the English region or wider afield including international travel.

Travel Routes

How the attendees get top the event. Is in mostly private transport containing single family groups, a mix of modes or mainly public transport.


There are many things you need to think about when organising an event on public or private land.

It’s your responsibility to make sure you have planned:

  • the duty of care and safety of all involved
  • risk assessments
  • medical cover
  • public liability insurance – we will need to see the certificate
  • a main contact for the day – will be shared with NELC security
  • timescales
  • temporary event notice (TEN) – only for licensable activity on an unlicensed venue
  • traffic regulation orders (TRO) – for regulating, restricting or prohibiting use of the highway
  • around feedback received from local residents, businesses and organisations – such as Tourism North East Lincolnshire (TNEL)

Before you start

An Event Safety Advisory Group (ESAG) request must be submitted at least 12 weeks before your scheduled event. We need to consider all the safety aspects of your event. Details of exactly how far in advance you need to submit an ESAG is available in the Use of council land and open spaces policy (PDF, 223KB) . You should read this policy as it also details any fees and charges that might apply to your application.

When your request has been submitted, members may contact you to give advice or ask questions.  If you don’t hear anything within one calendar month please assume you can go ahead with your event.

For security reasons the online form can time out if left idle. Make sure you have the following information available (if applicable at the time of request)

  • Name and location of your event
  • Date and times of your event including the timescales for set up and clean up
  • Description of your event (for example an event programme)
  • Number of people estimated to attend (visitors, volunteers, staff and medical cover)
  • Name of the organiser or on-the-day contact
  • Risk assessment plans
  • Number of medical staff, fire safety and security covering your event
  • Approved road closure and traffic management plans
  • Public liability insurance

Event Safety Advisory Group

The group is made up of members who can offer advice, but also grant permissions and licences for your event.

ESAG members:

  • Humberside Police
  • Humberside Fire and Rescue
  • East Midlands Ambulance Service
  • North East Lincolnshire Council
    • Highways
    • Licensing
    • Environmental health
    • Trading standard
    • Building control