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Tourism South East – Latest Covid Government Guidance for Venues, Events and Accommodation Providers

15th December 2021

The Government has published the guidance for venues and events which require mandatory Covid checks from Wednesday 15th December. Here are some of the main points in the very detailed guidance.

  • Where Checks Are Required?

The checks will be mandatory at:

    • nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
    • other late night dance venues, where all of the following apply:
      • the venue is open between 1am and 5am
      • it serves alcohol after 1am
      • it has a dancefloor (or space for dancing)
      • it provides music, whether live or recorded, for dancing
    • indoor events with 500 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions
    • outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals
    • events with 10,000 or more attendees, whether indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events

Organisations responsible for these venues and events must take reasonable steps to ensure that all visitors aged 18 or above show an NHS COVID Pass, or approved proof of vaccination, testing, or an exemption, to enter the venue or event. Evidence of natural immunity must not be accepted as an alternative to proof of vaccination or testing.

  • Undertaking Checks

Covid Pass Checks

The NHS COVID Pass Verifier app is recommended to check the NHS COVID Pass. If you choose to not use the Verifier App, you’ll need to ensure that attendees’ NHS COVID Passes are checked visually for an expiry date and a shimmer animation that confirms a Pass is live and not screenshotted. You should check the online NHS COVID Pass where possible but can also check the wallet (which does not have a shimmer animation).

Proof of a recent negative test result

Those not using the NHS COVID Pass and accessing settings by showing alternative proof of a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test taken within the past 48 hours must have reported their test result to NHS Test and Trace. They will then have received a text or email notification which should be checked as a condition of entry. A valid notification of a test result from NHS Test and Trace should include all of the following:

    • the name of the person who took the test
    • their age or date of birth
    • the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
    • confirmation that the test was either a polymerase chain reaction test or a lateral flow test
    • confirmation that the result of the test was negative

International attendees

Where attendees to your venue or event are international residents, you should accept certain vaccination proofs from other countries. If the vaccination proof is accepted at the UK border, you should accept it at your venue or event. For more information, read the guidance on approved COVID-19 vaccines and countries with approved proof of vaccination.

  • Venues That Change Category

There will be a range of venues that change category – such as a pub changing to a late night dance venue. In these situations that guidance is that the business must:

    • taken reasonable steps to ensure that all customers who are in the venue when it changes category has an NHS COVID Pass (or other accepted evidence), even if they entered the premises before that time.
  • Workers

While COVID-19 status checks are not mandatory for workers at these venues and events, reasonable steps should be taken to en sure that all adults working or providing services (as an employee, contractor or volunteer) in customer-facing roles show evidence of one of the following:

    • a valid NHS COVID Pass
    • an acceptable alternative proof of either vaccination, clinical trial participation, or medical exemption, for example, international equivalents accepted at the UK border
    • an alternative proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, for example, text or email confirmation from NHS Test and Trace
  • Exemptions

Organisers are not required to use the NHS COVID Pass, even if the attendance thresholds are met at:

    • communal worship
    • wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and equivalents (including alternative wedding ceremonies)
    • receptions celebrating a wedding or other significant life event (like a christening, bar and bat mitzvah or mehndi ceremony) that are organised by an individual (and not a business, a charitable, benevolent, or philanthropic institution or a public body).
    • funerals and commemorative events (except where commemorative events are held in a nightclub)
    • outdoor events in public spaces where these are unticketed and not charged for (such as markets, street parties, protests and carnivals)
    • events in private houses (including private gardens) where people do not have to pay or hold a ticket to enter
  • Spot Checks

Spot checks may be used in the following limited circumstances if it’s not reasonably possible to check proof of COVID-19 status for all attendees and if:

1. The event is:

    • an indoor event with 500 or more attendees expected to stand or move around
    • an outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees expected to stand or move around
    • any event with more than 10,000 attendees

2. The majority of attendees are expected to arrive for a fixed start time, where entrants are likely to all arrive in a short space of time.

3. It is not possible to set up checkpoints away from the entry points, and carrying out a check on every person would lead to a crowd gathering outside the venue or event.

4. That crowd would either present a risk to the safety of the persons in the crowd, or to any other person, or provide a potential target for terrorist action – read more information on hospitality security considerations

In these circumstances, if it is not practical to check the NHS COVID Pass of all attendees, you must carry out an assessment of risk and determine the percentage of checks that can safely be carried out. The responsible person must submit this assessment of risk to apply to the relevant local authority at least 10 working days in advance of the event.

  • Accommodation Primary Guidance Updated

The primary guidance for accommodation businesses has now been updated regarding the wearing of facemasks in public areas. The guidance is essentially the same as when previous rules on wearing masks were in place, Specifically this means:

    • Staff and other workers must wear face coverings when they are working in any indoor area that is open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public.
    • If there is a barrier, such as a screen, between workers and members of the public, staff behind the barrier or screen are not required to wear a face covering.
    • Staff are not required to wear face coverings when they are in areas that aren’t open to the public (such as a back office) or are unlikely to come into contact with the public (such as maintenance staff working in cordoned-off areas).
    • Staff are not required to wear face coverings when they are in hospitality facilities (such as restaurants and bars), and other areas which are mainly being used for eating or drinking (such as a room or area hired for a drinks reception).
    • A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles.
    • If any of your staff work in close contact with guests (such massage therapists, security staff, beauticians), or work in contaminated areas (such as cleaners and housekeeping staff) you should also think about whether they need additional protection or personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
    • People can take off their face covering when they have a good reason to remove it (a ‘reasonable excuse’). For example, people can take off their face covering when they are eating or drinking in any area. They must put their face covering back on when this reason no longer applies (when they have stopped eating or drinking).

The Primary Guidance for Attractions and Events will be updated shortly along the same lines.