Following day-to day working and lobbying with DCMS nationally, the local authority Event Guidance is clear now, with Showmen’s Guild input enshrined within it and the Guild namechecked in the list of Industry Stakeholders.
200 fairs have taken place since 12 April, with a further 115+ planned, as of 19th May.
But local councils decide on operations and we face greater pressure than fixed businesses, in gainingcouncil approval.
Across London several fairs opened, but in the North East & West it is harder; in Yorks. the team effortgained results. The picture’s mixed elsewhere.
Following our requestvia our APPG on Fairs & Showgrounds , the Local Govt. Assn (LGA)highlightedus in their Tourism Bulletin to members.We have had further dialogue with the LGA today.
As the Indian variant spreads to 86 local authorities across the UK and following the various Pilot Test Events that took place nationally; a positive discussion was chaired by the Cabinet Office with DCMS on Tuesday, on the possibilities of Covid Certification for events.
The Showmen’s Guild, taking part, explained the impact on the free-flow of visitors to the larger events. This view was echoed by the wider outdoor event and activity industry; whilst understanding that it may be a necessity in some settings.
It was welcomed by indoor event operators, where full-houses are essential for viability, without social distancing.
Outdoor Wi-Fi connectionavailability is a concern, as isinsistence on a sunset clause in Covid Certification plans.
In Wales, Fairs officially openedfrom 26th; however confusion arose, with fairsclassed as ‘events’, the definition ofwhich, would in the Welsh Alert Level 2, severely restrict adult attendance figures
The alternative way of operating, via the operator’s risk assessment, limiting numbers,withappropriate Covid mitigations had worked previously..
The Guild’s South Wales Section is urgently seeking clarity from the Welsh Assembly and Visit Wales Tourism Developmenton this and they’reprogressingtheirdialogue with the Welsh LGA,for a risk-based, practical approach to the guidance, so fairs can operate in parity with other visitor attractions.
Elsewhere,the Guild’s Scottish Section held advanced talks with Holyrood ministers; these continuing since the recent election;producing Guidance matching England’s, within the Scottish framework for Hospitality & Tourism Sectors.
This is being refined,but the timelines of the Scottish Licensing system will impact opening plans this summer.
Meanwhile, The Guild and its Showmen operators are assessing the impact of the Covid Indian Variant on current plans. Some Scottish Showmen are operating south of the border where possible, including in London.
In Northern Ireland; The Showmen’s Guild team and operators are liaising with the newly elected members of Northern Ireland Executive on the reopening plans. Stormontare looking to approve a raft of restrictionlifting, agreed last week; with all eyes on the outcome of the Stormont Executive’s agreement for spectators at the Irish Cup finaltest event, for emerging out of lockdown.