The Meetings Industry Association (mia) is delighted that business meetings and events of up to 1,000 guests will now be permitted in Tier 1 and 2 areas from 3 December, but is urging the sector to operate in the spirit of the guidance and always with safety and business reputation in mind.
Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia said: “The clarification from government that venues in Tiers 1 and 2 will be able to host business events for either up to 1,000 guests, or 50% of the venue’s capacity, whichever is the lower number, is a massive step forward for the sector and one that is likely to save jobs and businesses as we start out on the road to recovery.
“However, we only have one chance to get this right. So, it is now vital to take the time to understand the stipulations and abide by the new regulations before rushing forward with plans to host gala dinners, office Christmas parties and team building events.
“We continue to be in regular communication with DCMS and are likely to have clearer guidance by the end of this week, but we already know that business social events will not be permissible. In other words, if you have a residential conference for 250 delegates, this cannot be followed by a dinner or anything resembling a social occasion.
“Our compliance will be pivotal to the recovery of our industry. The decision to open up the sector in any meaningful way has been a long time coming and it has taken a huge amount of work from the mia – as one of the sector trade associations providing direct business intelligence to both DCMS and BEIS – the Government departments making the case for the sector.
“We are a hugely responsible and safe sector, and now is our chance to prove this not just to Government but also to the media, to protect the reputation and longevity of our venues and businesses.
“Therefore, while we await the detailed guidance, we urge the sector to re-commence its compliance preparations. Take this opportunity to re-examine your risk assessments and COVID-secure credentials, prepare your delegate data collection method and re-train your staff where necessary.
“Also, prepare your immediate marketing to ensure you are promoting only what is legally permissible and not what you think you can ‘get away with’. Instead of looking for loopholes, we should all be operating in the spirit of the guidance and always with safety and business reputation in mind.
“To help us build sector confidence, we need to assure our clients that we have solid reliable COVID-secure, risk averse environments and we must follow the new rules, having fought so hard for such a break-through.
“So please pause your thinking while we await the guidance – it will come, and we will bring it to you. It won’t be exactly what we all want but it will be a huge step forward in this journey that will help the sector move towards recovery.”