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England could lift event restrictions from 21 June

Most restrictions on events taking place in England could be lifted by 21 June, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has said. However, some events may be permitted to go ahead with restricted capacities, with up to 1,000 people or 50% capacity permitted from 17 May. Further pilot events will be run from this time, with testing.

Addressing the House of Commons, 22 February, the prime minister revealed his roadmap out of lockdown, which he said was contingent on “data, not dates”. However, he also hinted that testing could be needed in order for large events to take place but did not specify any further details.

Ahead of the provisional 21 June start date, which the prime minister stressed would only be given the go ahead seven days in advance subject to infection rates, further pilot events would be run. “We will pilot larger events using enhanced testing with the ambition of the further easing of restrictions in the next step,” he said.

“Step four will begin no earlier than the 21 June. With appropriate mitigations we will aim to remove all legal limits on social contact, on wedding, and on other live events. We will open everything up to and including nightclubs and enable large events such as theatre performances beyond the limits in Step 3.”

From 17 May, indoor events for up to 1,000 people will be permitted, or 50% capacity, with up to 4,000 permitted at outdoor events. Up to 10,000 may be permitted in seated outdoor environments, such as stadiums.

The prime minister said that four reviews would be taking place to more accurately plan for the wider reopening. The reviews include specific certification.

Non-essential retail, personal care and outdoor leisure attractions and pub gardens will reopen no sooner than 12 April.

Chris Skeith, CEO of the UK’s Association of Event Organisers, commented: “The inclusion of events in the latter stages of the reopening roadmap is a welcome development and we are confident that we will be able to further demonstrate our ability to deliver Covid-secure exhibitions in the pilot the government has announced. In his Budget next week Rishi Sunak must provide targeted support for the exhibitions sector to save it from total collapse. Exhibitions businesses need support for as long as restrictions are in place, clear roadmap to reopen, and a government-backed insurance scheme otherwise devastating job losses and business failures are coming.”

The prime minister had said details of extended business support measures would be announced by the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, in his Budget, due 3 March.