Government pilot events: could they mean a return to business?

The events industry is waiting with bated breath as the UK Government’s pilot events swing into action.

Several events have already taken place, including the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield Crucible Theatre, ACC Business Event in Liverpool and the BRIT Awards in London.

The pilots are designed to be scientifically controlled and are trialling different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and Covid-19 testing before and after each event, with attendees not required to wear masks or socially distance once inside venues.

Kina Events founder Alex Palmer says:

Evidence provided by the pilot events will be used to inform the Government’s policy on the hoped-for phased return of large events this summer.

“In turn, this will help guide venues and event organisers on how they might need to operate.

“While there’s lots of excitement that pilots will be successful, there’s still lots of uncertainty about new Covid-19 variants, what will be possible and when – and also whether people are ready to return to larger events,” she adds.

So should you start planning that large, in-person business event?

Here are the main considerations to help you decide:

Government pilot events: could they mean a return to business?

Planning pressures

It’s looking likely that for many events, it will be a legal requirement for attendees to be tested to see if they have Covid-19, both before and after the event.

It’s possible proof of vaccination will also have a role to play, so you’ll have a lot of extra logistics to plan for.

Organisers and venues will also have to take precautions such as increased ventilation, larger venues and additional cleaning.

But we don’t yet know exactly what the requirements will be, and that uncertainty doesn’t help when planning events.

Are the likely safety measures feasible for you and your event? 

Will you have time between when any announcements are made and the day of your event to put these in place? 

Stick to your objectives

What’s the aim of your event? Once you’ve met all the safety requirements, will you still be able to achieve it?

And most importantly, never forget you must create an enjoyable and valuable experience for attendees. 

It’s essential to ensure your guests feel safe, but equally won’t find the safety measures too intrusive – a really tricky balance to get right.

Make sure attendees know what to expect in advance and ensure that, in spite of the safety measures, they’ll still get what they need from your event. 

Keep an eye on the money

Bear in mind that the extra measures may mean your event is more expensive to produce – for example you might need a larger venue, additional staffing and pricier Covid-safe catering.

You’ll also need to check your suppliers can comply with the new requirements, which may also cost them – and therefore you – more.

Keep a close eye on your budget as costs could escalate quickly.

Be ready for virtual or cancellation

Hopefully we’ve seen the worst of the pandemic, but we’re still living in uncertain times. 

New variants for example, could – worst case scenario – potentially lead to tighter local or national restrictions, and without a great deal of advance notice.

If your event could work online, either go hybrid from the start and potentially reach a wider audience, or have a plan to take your event online if needed.

Make sure you can accept the potential losses associated with postponement or cancellation, and bear this in mind when signing venue and supplier contracts and paying deposits. 

It’s also worth looking into what happens if, sadly, any of your suppliers go bust and can no longer provide the intended services. Understanding your legal agreements at this time of uncertainty is paramount.

Every company and every event is different, so there will be other considerations that are specific to your situation, but we hope these tips help you decide whether or not to go ahead with your event. 



If you have any questions, need further advice or would like some help planning your business events, please contact the Kina Events team on 020 7205 7901 or send us an email.

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