The Government has issued its Winter Plan, which states that outdoor events such as concerts and sports will be able to accommodate audiences of up to 4,000 in Tier 1 areas when the UK emerges from national lockdown on 2 December.

It said in Tiers 1 and 2, live events can now resume inside and outside with capacity limits and social distancing in place. In Tier 1 the capacity limit will be 50% of a venue’s capacity or 4,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors, whichever is lower. In Tier 2 these will be 50% capacity or 2,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors, whichever is lower.

In Tier 3 audiences will not be permitted at sports events or live performances unless the events are drive-in.

Speaking to the House of Commons via videolink, 23 November, the prime minister also outlined plans for quicker mass testing, which is hoped will pave the way for those testing negative to return to some semblance of normality.

The return of live events was welcomed by the industry but the limit on audiences at indoor shows to 1,000 will impact planned events such as Culture Club at SSE Arena, Wembley which was due to take place on 19 December with an audience of 3,000.

Both the Concert Promoters Association (CPA) and the Music Venue Trust (MVT) raised concerns regarding the ban on alcohol sales at venues in Tier 2.

Kilimanjaro Live CEO and CPA vice chairman Stuart Galbraith said, “It’s a start, the concept of 1,000 people, or 50% of capacity, is something we can potentially work with. However, in Tier 2 the vast majority of venues will not be able to work if they cannot sell alcohol.”

The MVT said the Government should reconsider its position on the issue of alcohol sales at permitted ticketed events within the new Tier 2 proposals.

It said, “Under these restrictions grassroots music venues are technically permitted to deliver live music events. However, the Government has announced that alcohol will only be able to be consumed if it is accompanied by ‘a substantial meal’.

“Music Venue Trust has repeatedly detailed to the Government that income within the grassroots sector derives 65% from wet sales and 35% from ticket sales.”

National Outdoor Events Association president Tom Clements said the organisation welcomed the Government’s move to opens the door for live and outdoor events to take place for up to 4,000 people: “While this is still only a fraction of our marketplace, it will inject confidence into the industry and allow events to begin the process of planning, be it small new year celebrations to larger festivals in the New Year. We hope that, as the industry once again shows its value to society, and its ability to keep people safe, it will pave the way for larger events and a full return in 2021.

“It has been a wretched year for outdoor events; the events themselves, their crucial supply chain, and the millions of people who attend every year. We have lost untold amounts of talent from the industry, however we now have a reason for genuine optimism, and a focal point for the creative talent that has, until now, been a victim of this shut down.”