Harrogate Convention Centre

The seven temporary sites included five exhibition venues and were built during first wave of Covid-19. They will be decommissioned at the end of next month, it was announced yesterday, paving the way for the return of the exhibition industry

Five Nightingale hospitals were built at the NEC, ExCeL London, Harrogate Convention Centre (pictured), Manchester Central and UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre. They were built to provide extra intensive care beds but have, largely, not been used due to insufficient numbers of staff.

The venues will be restored as event centres, ahead of 17 May when restricted capacity events of up to 1000 people can take place indoors, if the data allows. The full lifting of restrictions is expected to be no earlier than 21 June.

PM Boris Johnson laid out the Government’s reopening roadmap to easing restrictions on 22 February. The precise wording of the guidelines for Step 3, which is no earlier than the 17 May, reads:

‘In all sectors, Covid-Secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits. Sectors which will reopen include: Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events. Controlled indoor events of up to 1000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4000 people, whichever is lower. In addition, pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing.

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‘The Government will bring the findings from across different sectors and different settings to determine a consistent approach to lifting restrictions on these events. Depending on the outcome of this work, the Government hopes to be able to lift restrictions on these events and sectors as part of Step 4.’ Step 4 is when the government hopes all legal limits on social contact can be removed and restrictions can be lifted lift restrictions on large events and performances.

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