Find out what event organisers need to consider when planning their events during COVID-19.

Any events, performances and festivals that take place during the Covid-19 pandemic must follow the government's guidelines and be COVID secure. Hosting events for large numbers of people is particularly challenging at this time. Risk assessments and event management plans must ensure through measures such as social distancing and hygiene arrangements that you minimise transmission of the virus.

North Norfolk District Council and Public Health England may prohibit events from taking place if there is a significant risk of transmission of infection and if they do not comply with government guidelines at the time of the event.

Get in touch

Contact the at an early stage in the planning process. They can provide you with:

  • specialist advice and guidance
  • recommendations to improve the running of your event and the safety arrangements

Can my event go ahead?

Under the current national restrictions, some events will be prohibited. Check for what you can and cannot do on the government website.

Risk framework and categories

The council have developed a risk framework for when events resume that categorises them into:

  • low
  • medium
  • high
  • very high risk

Any decision to approve or refuse an event will be based on the risk category of your event and the COVID infection rates at the time.

These risk categories are summarised below and should only be used as a guide as this cannot cover all types of events:

Risk category Type of event  Example Notice required
Low Small outside ticketed event (less than 250) in which social distancing can easily be maintained, numbers can be restricted and includes visitors from the local community or area.

No alcohol or music entertainment provided.
Charity fundraiser in vicarage

Small garden fete
1 month
Medium Business events such as trade shows and exhibitions, elite sports events or larger outdoor event attracting up to 500, including those from outside the local area.

Indoor seated ticketed event with or without alcohol.

Both types of event social distancing can easily be maintained an entry and exit can be controlled within an enclosed location.
Drive-in cinema

Walkthrough outdoor ticketed performance or display event

Classic car show

Musical or theatre entertainment

Street party

Litter picking event on the beach

Retail markets with road closure applications
2 months
High Larger outdoor event and small indoor event, including those with musical entertainment.

Social distancing may be difficult to maintain due to activities being proposed.

Entry to the event outside may be uncontrolled.

Alcohol may be provided.
Carnival parade

Sporting event, e.g. charity marathon or bicycle ride

Bandstand musical events

Travelling fair or circus

Fireworks display

Christmas lights switch-on

Talent Show inside
3 months
Very high Very large outdoor event leading to large numbers of people (typically greater than 4000) congregating and difficulties maintaining social distancing. Entry to the event outside is uncontrolled.

Large indoor event, especially where a stage or a large performance is the focal point.
Seafront festival

Large street art event

Food festival

Music concert
6 months

Notifying the council about your event

Due to the additional measures required to ensure your event is COVID secure, your event must be notified to the council using this event notification form. Please let us know contact North Norfolk District Council Safety Advisory Group according to the timescales detailed above. This will allow us sufficient time to process your application and contact all the parties involved

Please consider the possibility that your event may have to be cancelled at relatively short notice because of new restrictions. It is essential, therefore, that you keep up to date with current guidance and legislation.

Planning your event

Read our guidance on organising an event

Before organising your event, you will need to show that your event can occur safely during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Read our guidance on carrying out an event in general, which includes links to further information and event documents.

Complete risk assessments and event action plan

Alongside your existing risk assessment and event action plan, you will be required to complete a separate risk assessment for COVID-19. This assessment is necessary to demonstrate that your event is COVID secure. In simple terms, as an event organiser, you have put in place measures to protect your staff, visitors, vendors, contractors, and anyone else involved in the event from the risk of Coronavirus.

The measures identified in your risk assessment should then be included in your event action plan.

Failure to complete a suitable risk assessment for COVID-19 will result in your event not being approved to go ahead.

Preparing your COVID Event Risk assessment

Your risk assessment should consider all aspects of your event that could increase the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and then put in place measures to reduce the risk of transmission.

Some of the measures you need to consider are:

Arriving, moving around and leaving the site

Consider travel routes to the site and how this will avoid congestion. Think about car parking arrangements, including any one-way systems and the safety of stewards and marshals directing traffic. Due to public concerns about social distancing and public transport you may find that more people travel using their car so you may need to allow for additional parking.

Consider the use of staggered entry and exit times using a ticketed entry to the event. This will avoid queues forming. Ticketed entry is currently recommended for events over 30 people.

If practical, use one-way routes around the site and provide sanitising stations at entry and exit points. Provide suitable safety messages around social distancing and make sure any one-way routes are prominently displayed.

Social distancing

Identify how social distancing will be maintained between performers, attendees, vendors, contractors etc. Consider pinch points and areas where people may queue or congregate, such as entrances and exits, toilet facilities, food stalls, stages etc.

For many events to maintain social distancing, you may need to reduce your normal capacity.

Enhanced hygiene and cleaning practices

Describe how all parts of the venue, especially high hand contact points and toilet and washing facilities, will be effectively cleaned. It should identify the cleaning method and products used and the frequency of cleaning. You should also have a procedure for cleaning after a symptomatic case. Further guidance is available on the government website.

Hand washing and sanitising stations

The number and location of facilities that will need to be provided must be considered. They should be signposted and easily accessible around the site during the event and during build-up and breakdown.

Toilet facilities

Enough toilets should be provided, and suitable signage regarding effective hand washing displayed.  Toilets should be subject to enhanced cleaning, and measures such as social distancing markers should be adopted where queues may form.

Toilets should also be kept well ventilated, such as fixing entrance and exit doors open where appropriate.

Waste disposal

Frequent cleaning of waste bins and waste from the site is essential and should be cleaned regularly. You are not currently required to put waste in an extra bag or store them for a time before throwing them away. Face coverings and PPE should not be allowed in a recycling bin as they cannot be recycled through conventional recycling facilities. Signage can be used on your bins to convey this message

NHS Test and Trace

Records of all those attending will need to be kept for 21 days. Consider how this information will be collected and stored. You will need to obtain a QR code for the event location. You can create a coronavirus poster on the government website.

Symptomatic persons and COVID outbreak

Measures should describe how an infected or symptomatic person will be managed, including arrangements for an outbreak associated with the event.  If it's a large event, you may need a quarantine area, preferably close to medical facilities.


Effective communication is critical for ensuring all attendees before and during the event are kept aware of your measures for reducing the risk of transmission. Think about how you will communicate these safety messages to the public and your staff.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

What are your PPE requirements for this event, and how this will be enforced? For example, how will you manage the wearing of face coverings if this is required? Make sure you have enough supplies of PPE for your staff and volunteers.

Safety of performers

Consider what performance activities will be allowed. How will the performer's equipment be safely stored, and how any shared equipment can be adequately disinfected. Working safely during coronavirus-performing arts details guidance for performers.

Suppliers, traders and caterers

They will be required to complete their own COVID risk assessment, and you should ask for copies of these to ensure they are all are complying with the relevant COVID guidance to working safely.

Be mindful of avoiding pinch points when locating your vendors and ensuring measures to maintain social distancing and prevent queuing.

If tables and chairs are allowed, these should be suitably spaced and frequently cleaned.


Staff, volunteers, contractors and vendors will need to be made aware of the findings of your risk assessment, particularly the COVID secure measures that you will be putting in place for the event.

Attention should be paid to any volunteers who may not be familiar with your COVID work practices.

Accidents, incidents, first aid, security etc

Consider if you need extra staff to implement these additional COVID measures. You may need more staff, for example, to enforce social distancing.

Think about the staff involved in assisting others, such as first aiders and staff who may need to come into close contact with those at the event, such as security staff carrying out searches. Ensure adequate measures are in place to protect their safety.

Your incident and emergency procedures should consider social distancing as far as possible however you do not need to maintain social distancing in an emergency if it would be unsafe to do so.

Find detailed guidance on events planning in the Events Industry Forum guidance.

Other areas to consider

When planning your event during the COVID pandemic, there may be some other areas you should consider, including:

  • Insurance if your event is cancelled, is it covered by your insurance?
  • Finance, are you able to cover the cost of the event is cancelled at short notice. Will the potential reduction in the numbers attending and increased costs of implementing COVID measures make your event financially viable?

Further guidance and information

The Events Industry Forum has produced guidance for organisers of outdoor events during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, you may find the following information helpful:

Contact us

North Norfolk District Council would like to support all event organisers wishing to carry out an event in our area, especially during this challenging time.

If you would like further information, help or specialist advice, especially about COVID-19, email us at