On 11 July 2020, the Government updated its guidance in relation to working safely during COVID-19. The updated guidance confirmed that performing arts can now take place outdoors with a socially distanced audience present. This means that outdoor theatres, opera, dance and music can now be resumed so long as they take place outside, with a limited and socially distanced audience, and the appropriate risk assessments in place.
Guidance published by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport aims to help performing arts organisations, venue operators and participants in the UK understand how they can work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe.
The Licensing Authority is mindful that the recent relaxation of restrictions may result in an increase in TENs being submitted to the Licensing Authority for events in the open air. However, notwithstanding the possibility of small scale events taking place, there is still an ongoing requirement to prevent the occurrence of illegal gatherings which could contribute to an increase in the spread of the virus and potentially result in a local lockdown.
In order to assist event organisers to deliver a safe event using the TENs process, we would strongly advise that the best approach in organising your event is to ensure that you have conducted a thorough risk assessment for the proposed entertainment and, in particular, follow Government guidance in relation to COVID-19 measures so as to ensure that performers and members of the public alike are safe and the risk of transmission of the coronavirus is reduced. This risk assessment also needs to demonstrate how illegal gatherings will be prevented.
To reduce the potential risk of objections being made by the Police or Environmental Health in relation to any TEN given, it is strongly suggested that you submit the risk assessment you have undertaken at the same time you give notification of the TEN.
This will enable the authorities to properly consider the measures you intend to put in place and may well prevent possible objections which would result in either the event not going ahead under a late TEN or a formal hearing being necessary for a standard TEN.
The following links may be of assistance to organisers who are thinking of organising an outdoor event or for indoor events such as theatres, music and performance venues from 1 August as highlighted by the PM on 17 July:
- Information about audiences back in theatres
- Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020
- Working Safely during coronavirus – Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
- HSE’s template risk assessment
- Guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants
- Events Industry Forum – Making outdoor event gatherings happen again Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace
- Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships
- Closing certain businesses and venues in England
The Licensing Act 2003 (“the Act”) introduces a light touch system for ad hoc, permitted temporary activities. A temporary event notice (TEN) is given by an individual (a premises user) and authorises the premises user to conduct one or more licensable activities at premises for no more than 168 hours (7 days). TENs can be used to authorise relatively small-scale ad hoc events held in or on any premises involving less than 500 people at any one time, subject to certain restrictions.
Recent changes to the system of giving TENs have been created by virtue of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 which came into effect on 25 April 2012.
If you wish to hold an ad-hoc event in England or Wales, you must give either a standard temporary event notice (TEN) to your local licensing authority no later than ten working days before the event or there is limited provision to give a late TEN no later than 5 working days but no earlier than 9 working days before the event.
If the premises where the event is to be held is in areas governed by two or more local authorities applications must be made to each.
You must also give a copy of the notice to the police and environmental health on the same day that the notification is given to the licensing authority.
You must be 18 years or older to give a TEN and can give a maximum of 5 standard TENs or 2 late TENs per calendar year. If you are a personal licence holder, you can give a maximum of 50 standard TENs or 10 late TENs per year.
Your event must involve no more than 499 people at any one time and last no more than 168 hours (7 days) with a minimum of 24 hours between events.
A maximum of 15 TENs may be given in respect of any particular premises (but this is subject to a maximum aggregate duration of 21 days).