Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that conferences and exhibitions will be permitted in England from 1 October 2020.
Addressing the nation from Downing Street, 17 July, the prime minister said the decision would depend on data and that Local Authorities would have powers to close events if there was a danger to the public. The prime minister noted that there would be pilot events ahead of the reopening.
The Nightingale hospitals, which currently occupy ExCeL London, the NEC, Harrogate Convention Centre and Manchester Central, will remain until the end of March 2021. It is not yet clear how this will impact events at these venues.
Answering a question from the FT about people returning to work, prime minister Johnson made a telling statement underlining the value of face-to-face interaction. He said: “There’s a balance. We have learnt a lot of lessons during this crisis, about the potential of technology, but I think there are also limits to this technology and is no substitute for face-to-face meetings and interactions.”
The Government released its official guidance for conferences and meetings on 24 June. Read the UK Meetings Industry Association's full safety criteria here.