The Prime Minister’s announcement on 17 July that events and conferences can return from 1 October was welcomed by everyone here at Marble Arch London BID. There is more than 7,850 sq metres of combined meeting and event space in hotels, members’ clubs and venues across Marble Arch and Edgware Road and we are home to the UK’s largest conference and meetings hotel, the Hilton London Metropole. This sector has suffered greatly from the restrictions that have been put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic and for it to be able to return before the end of 2020 is of much relief to businesses.
It is not only a relief for the events businesses located in Marble Arch and Edgware Road, but also other retail and hospitality businesses in the area that are part of the supply chain and rely on the trade brought by delegates and guests at these events. Many of the local hotels are used by visiting attendees, while the restaurants, pubs and retailers cater for these visitors as well.
New guidance, published by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), will help event organisers, venue operators and participants in the UK understand how they can host business events and conferences and keep both their guests and staff safe.
The guidance makes clear that the following measures should be considered to allow for safe resumption of business events and conferences:
- Attendees will need to pre-book and pre-register to attend events
- Contactless registration systems will be introduced at venues to reduce waiting times and limit contact between organisers and guests
- A digital first approach will be adopted to eliminate the need for physical badges and lanyards
- Paper handouts and gifts will no longer be offered
- Entrance to event or conference spaces will be staggered to reduce queuing and overall capacity will be limited to ensure social distancing can be maintained
- Events will be planned around one way systems for visitors
- Spaces between exhibition booths will be increased and aisles widened to achieve social distancing requirements
- All venues will also have enhanced cleaning procedures, with hand washing and sanitising facilities at frequent intervals
We are delighted to see that some of our members are already preparing to reopen. Etc Venue will reopen on 1 August for meetings up to 30 people and has made changes to ensure that they will be the best placed to serve your needs for larger events from 1 October, with an 18-point plan setting out the adaptations they are making so you can book your next meeting or event with total confidence.
The Victory Services Club has implemented a range of enhanced Covid-19 compliant hygiene, safety and social distancing measures. Events will be managed in a different way, with floor plan layouts and seating capacities reviewed on an event-by-event basis to ensure that social distancing guidelines are met. Thermal scanning is in place and signage specifying venue and event-specific social distancing measures will be deployed around the Club. The VSC events team will work with event organisers to prevent congestion and will offer staggered arrival / departure times and executive individual packed lunches.