Meeting with the LGA

Summary

Given below are general bullet points that were noted from the meeting of the 2nd March, 2021, as well as the answer to the question put forward by the AIS.
From the extensive research and consumer focus studies carried out since autumn 2020 the Local Government Association (LGA) in partnership with UK Hospitality, and Visit Britain have found the following conclusions:

LGA Conclusions

  • There is significant pent up demand for events, festivals and a return to somewhere near normal for the Visitor Economy (VE)
  • Cities will be hardest hit in regards to the lifting of restrictions and a return to normal
  • Consumers are understandably nervous of catching the virus in various VE attraction settings
  • The primary focus of Local Authorities (LA) will be on asset management – Bricks and Mortar locations and open spaces
  • There is an identified need that the key to recovery is getting back businesses as quickly as possible with the subsequent support to achieve this aim
  • Emphasis on achieving this will be compliance to national guidance
  • Car parking and overcrowding will become an issue as lockdown is lifted –‘ Staycations’
  • The Council Elections may affect decisions, owing to the PURDAH rules
  • Recovery of the VE is estimated at taking two to three years to get back to normal.
  • Central government guidance and what is contained within it will be key
  • LA’s will have to be very careful about the language that is used with regards to all businesses reopening in their area, i.e. a LA cannot be found to be saying one sector is more riskier than another
  • Research has found that those working in customer facing businesses run the highest risk of getting infected from the virus
  • Insurance of events may become very problematic

Travelling Showmen – specific

The following question was asked to the gathered panel:
“Has consideration been made with regards to travelling funfairs and circuses, given the fact that during this pandemic this community (travelling Showmen) has been included within the Visitor Economy in relation to guidance for operating safely in a COVID-secure context?”

The answer was given by Kate Nicholls – CEO of UK Hospitality, and the bullet points of her answer are as follows:
1. Yes, this time round a lot of time has been given by the DCMS in avoiding the mistakes of 2020 so;
2. Funfairs can open on April 12th, and Circuses on May 17th subject to LA approval.
3. The key points that must be shown within the application are:
(a) While at attendance of such an event ‘social bubbles of six’ must be maintained
(b) You can show how you will effectively manage, implement and monitor control of social distancing
(c) That your staff makes use of the LA community testing scheme for Lateral Flow testing to show and prove that no-one of your staff is COVID - positive.
(d) You are capable of managing the numbers predicted to attend.
4. The decision made by the LA on the application and assessment of the measures suggested by you to be COVID-secure will be dependent on where the date of the intended event will sit within the calendar this year. Later in the year will be easier to get permission to operate
5. Awareness of the Infection/case rate in the area will be a key factor for a local authority in their decision making process as to “Do we go with it?”
6. The basis of any decision by a LA will be guided by the clarity and non-ambiguity of the reviewed and refreshed National Guidance issued by Central Government regarding funfairs and circuses.
7. In order for a LA to grant an application consideration must also be made as to the fact that the local population will be initially risk adverse to people coming from outside the area to work and play. Whatever risk assessment is made it must ‘inspire confidence’ that you know what you are doing in regards to making the fair and circus safe to visit.
8. The existence of these National Plans and guidance needs to be better shared with LA’s this time round to avoid confusion and inequitable decisions that lead to confusion and resentment.