The Local Government Association (LGA) has issued updated COVID-19 outdoor events guidance.

The document, which can be downloaded here, clearly states it has liaised with the Business for Energy, Innovation and Skills (BEIS), which has confirmed that the Government’s intention is that outdoor events should go ahead where they can do so safely.

However, it also outlines the circumstances where a local authority could refuse permission for an event to go ahead.

The guidance says that where a local authority is the landowner, it could refuse permission to allow the use of the land for an event without the need to issue a direction under the recent The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020.

But event health and safety professionals are now questioning that if a local authority refuses permission for an event to go ahead, when agreements were already in place, whether that is a breach of contract?

Furthermore, some health and safety professionals are also advising that organisers ask the local authority officer wanting to stop an event “under what legislation?” The Licensing Act would not be a sufficient answer, given the fact that public health concerns are not the same as public safety, and organisers are quite within their rights to question such decisions on the basis that such information would inform their future decision-making processes in relation to insurance, eventgoers and traders.

It is believed that local authorities are nervous about letting events go ahead because of reputational risk, and there are also concerns that council COVID and public health officers do not know enough about events, and how they operate, and are not familiar with safety advisory groups (SAG).

What’s more, eventprofs are also frustrated that SAGs, which have no objection to an event going ahead, can be overridden by people with no event knowledge – and once events are referred there is no event representation at that level.

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