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Coronavirus: Events industry urges ‘business as usual’ and positivity

Events industry associations AEV, AEO and ESSA have taken steps to reassure their members and the public, while lobbying for government support, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a joint statement, the trade bodies have asserted that attending events is no more of a risk to people than riding public transport, relaying messages they have received from the Chief Medical Officer.

The statement in full:

Since the virus first emerged as a potential public health threat in January, the AEV, AEO and ESSA have been supporting their members in a number of ways, including representing members to government and agencies at the highest level to help ensure business continuity for their members and the industry at large.

From the onset association members have been able to share knowledge and information in real time, sharing concerns and potential solutions, as well as accessing the most current and authoritative information from numerous official bodies and agencies.

In addition, the three associations have also been relaying member and industry concerns to the government, impressing that whilst the industry is committed to public safety they are facing unprecedented challenges in reassuring their customers that events are still happening, and are safe to attend according to the current advice from the Chief Medical Officer and other authorities.

We support the government’s efforts to contain and control the virus and we have been advising members to implement business continuity plans incorporating advice from the most reliable and trustworthy sources, including the WHO, FCO, DHSC and others.

We welcome the significant work undertaken by the government to date, to provide reassurance including the creation of the Coronavirus Action Plan. However, members of all three associations are already encountering businesses who are implementing travel bans, and customers who are deciding to delay or reverse their attendance decisions, in anticipation of events being cancelled.

We are specifically seeking support from the UK Government to help reassure our customers, as we enter a critical time in the Spring show season. We are seeking some positive public messaging in line with current advice from the Chief Medical Officer, outlining that people should remain confident in attending organised events, and there are no greater risks associated with attending events than any other significant gathering of people, such as public transport. This advice reflects private messaging received by the industry from the Chief Medical Officer.

As well as engaging in existing meetings and groups we have written to the Prime Minister, Minister for Tourism, Business Secretary and Secretary of State for International Trade seeking support and meetings at the highest level to provide more information, and elaborate on our industries challenges.

This is having profound and serious consequences for our industry, and we are determined to support and assist their members in meeting this fast-moving challenge, at what is a busy time of year for the whole event industry.