Currently, we are living in strange times. The whole world appears to have genuinely come to a standstill. Sports, politics, and global events have totally been put on hold, and the economic impact of that has been severe – and still not fully realized yet.

 One industry that has suffered hugely under the current global lockdown in the event industry. With social distancing in place and restrictions on gatherings, events such as exhibitions, conferences, and even personal gatherings such as weddings and formal parties have all taken a hit.


What Damage Has Been Done?

 The extent of the damage is so bad that it is reported that 60% of suppliers in the UK events industry could collapse entirely within three months if they are not given appropriate financial support in 3 months, according to an online survey carried out by the Events industry forum. Nearly 1500 businesses took part in the study, and even six per cent claimed that they would be unlikely to survive one month.

 This kind of collapse for businesses would result in hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs across the industry. For example, according to a study from Bournemouth university, the outdoor event industry employs nearly 600,000 people. Over a sixth of them are estimated to work in the exhibitions, conferences, and indoor events industry.

 Another issue that the government faces is that most people who work in the outdoor industry are self-employed or freelancers who are dependent on the summer season to provide the bulk of their income. With plenty, if outdoor events such as music festivals, including Glastonbury and Edinburgh festival being cancelled, plenty of people are facing a bleak 12 months ahead before they will see more income, which could be hugely problematic for some people during the winter.

 In the business conference industry, the same trend applies. For example, 74% of all conferences and exhibitions have been either postponed to the last quarter of 2020, with almost all of the rest of them being cancelled.

 Despite the Chancellor recently indicating that event organisers should be eligible for leisure and hospitality grants, according to most of them who have applied, they were just turned down by their local council. In addition to that, only 1% of respondents who use for the given, ent backed scheme for Coronavirus interruption.


How has lockdown affected weddings and other parties? 

At this stage in the year, the wedding season would have been getting into full swing if we weren’t amid this pandemic. Instead, many couples now face lengthy postponements, which may be expected to last well into late 2021. Truthfully, no-one knows the answer about when weddings will be running again as usual, nor do we know how weddings will look in a post lockdown world. When restrictions do begin to ease, small ceremonies which involve no more than say five people may be allowed first. Yet at the moment, there has been no comment from this by the government.

 A little bit later, although not specified when (certainly not before 4th July), it is expected that the hospitality industry can begin to reopen again. Whether this means big weddings can finally happen again is unknown, and unlikely, but significant, indoor weddings aren’t looking likely.

 But you might be wondering how exactly the events industry, including weddings, parties and even larger conferences could look after the lockdown period. Here are some ways that our familiar norms may change once we come out the other side.


How will events change for the future?


The rise of outdoor venues

Of course, we are now aware that the virus doesn’t quite spread as quickly in the outdoors as it does indoors. That is why, after the pandemic, we could see the decline of formal events held indoors. When it comes to weddings, clients may even decide to hire outdoor marquees to accommodate guests on the grounds of venues in order to minimise the risk. Of course, however, there will be huge demand because of this, at the end of the day, there are only so many Saturday afternoon slots available in the summertime for an event.


Fewer guests

If having an event outdoors just isn’t feasible, the number of guests who attend a given event will likely cut dramatically, possibly even by half for weddings and other parties. For example, we could be getting used to emphasising the wedding ceremony itself, rather than the dancing and drinking, to minimise the dangers of crowds. At an event where food will be served for example, it is possible that there will be fewer guests at each table, or in the case of a wedding, guests may be seated based on their household.


No more destination wedding  

Recently we have seem that 14 day quarantines have been out in place for those who are traveling back to the UK from abroad, meaning that weddings which are held abroad may be put on hold, maybe even until 2022. An alternative perhaps is a wedding within the UK, where the venue is hired for the whole weekend. This means that guests can still enjoy the advantages that a destination wedding offers, but without exposing any guests to the risks of traveling to and from overseas countries.


Focus on hygiene

This applies to all sorts of events from business conferences to small formal parties. It may be a new norm for guests to have to wear masks, or any other type of facial covering. We may see a situation where attendees are refused from conferences because they aren’t wearing a masks, or perhaps even seeing masks which are specially made for weddings. Additionally, we should get used to seeing hand sanitisers on tables and around the venues to help people keep their hands clean.


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