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COVID-19 and Events

Large gatherings are being banned around the world to avoid further spreading of COVID-19. This page is a collection of key information about the impact of the virus outbreak on events for the benefit of major event hosts and will be regularly updated.

This page has been updated on 1st April 2020 and is only intended as a general summary of national responses to COVID-19.  For detailed and specific information, please visit the official sources of  each nation.

Sporting, cultural and industry events that have been canceled, postponed or moved online due to the coronavirus outbreak.


AUSTRALIA – Australian Health Protection Principal Committee
Guidance as of 29/03/2020
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has recommended limits on organised gatherings. On 29 March the National Cabinet agreed to further limit most indoor and outdoor non-essential gatherings to 2 people. Essential gatherings must continue to adhere to the this guidance.
See our advice for organising public gatherings.

BELGIUM – Belgian Government
Guidance as of 30/03/2020
All events, both indoor and outdoor and regardless of the size of the public, are  canceled  until April 19 included.
• Private and public activities of a cultural, social, festive, folkloric, sporting and recreational nature are prohibited.

CANADA – Public Health Authority of Canada
Guidance as of 31/03/2020
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that event organizers and planners cancel or postpone in-person gatherings in alignment with the recommendations of their local public health authorities, and where possible, offer virtual/online alternatives.
Mass gatherings are all different, so planning decisions must be done on a case-by-case basis. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommends that this risk assessment framework be used to systematically consider the characteristics of the mass gathering and its participants, identify risks and their weight (importance) in decision-making, understand the public health rationale, and consider risk mitigation strategies.
The social and economic impacts of cancelling or postponing mass gatherings must also be considered

DENMARK: Danish Police
Guidance as of 30/03/2020
The Danish Police – Current affairs on behalf of the MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF DENMARK introduces
• A
 temporarily ban on staging or participating in events, activities ect where more than 10 people are gathered. The ban is on both indoor and outdoor events and embraces public and private events.
• A temporarily lock down of all indoor sporting and recreational facilities including for example swimming pools.
The Danish police has been given authority to intervene and to break up gatherings exceeding 10 people, when they assess the need to do so.
The measures are extended at least for the period ending 13 April 2020 (Easter Monday).
Other helpful links: #covid19dk

DUBAI – Dubai Health Authority (DHA)
Guidance as of  14/03/2020
The Dubai Media Office announced on Twitter that all events from March 15 until the the end of the month have been suspended. “DTCM also directs all entertainment destinations to suspend operations and all hospitality establishments and wedding halls to suspend wedding gatherings from Sunday, 15 March, 2020, till the end of the month”.

FINLAND – Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Guidance as of 25/03/2020
The Government, together with the President of the Republic, have declared a state of emergency in Finland. All gatherings of over 10 people have been banned by the Regional State Administrative Agencies until April 13. The Government has also decided that all national and municipal museums, theatres, cultural venues, libraries, hobby and leisure centres, swimming pools and other sports facilities, youth centres etc. will be closed. Private and third-sector operators are advised to do the same.

Guidance as of 28/03/2020
Public gatherings of more than two people are banned throughout Germany. Measures to restrict the spread of coronavirus in the country will not be lifted before April 20.

JAPAN – Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
Guidance as of 01/03/2020
Avoid gathering in groups in areas with poor ventilation where people gather closely together.
Organisers of events should consider the necessity of holding any event, whether big or small, due to the high risk of infection posed by spaces with poor ventilation, and environments where people communicate at close range. If you do hold the event, take precautionary measures to avoid creating spaces with poor ventilation. These findings are considered to be the best practices at this time and are subject to change as further epidemiological information becomes available and research progresses.
On 30/03/2020: The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan today agreed new dates for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, in 2021. The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from 23 July to 8 August 2021. They also agreed on new dates for the paralympic games, which will be celebrated from 24 August until 5 September 2021.

NETHERLANDS – Government of the Netherlands
Guidance as of 31/03/2020
All measures taken in the Netherlands to combat coronavirus will be extended until Tuesday 28 April inclusive. Events and gatherings for which organisers would normally be required to apply for a permit or notify the authorities are banned until 1 June 2020.

NEW ZEALAND – Ministry of Health
Guidance as of 23/03/2020
New Zealand is now at Alert Level 4. This means that gatherings of any size are cancelled and public venues are closed. Criteria for cancelling events: Any place the public congregates must close. Any event which includes public congregation must be cancelled. This will apply for the next four weeks from 23 March 2020.

NORWAY – Visit Norway
Guidance as of 30/03/2020
Due to the coronavirus situation, all attractions, ski resorts, and venues are now closed, and all activities and events are cancelled. On 29th March Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced the extension of the emergency measures brought in to limit the spread of the virus. Originally announced until Thursday 26 March, the measures will now continue until after Easter, on Monday 13 April – Read more.
Norway’s large compensation scheme for culture, voluntary sector and sport presented on 18/03/2020 – compensation scheme for cultural life which will amount to about NOK 300 million and a similar one for sport and voluntary sector activities of about NOK 600 million. The scheme is intended to compensate for loss of income from ticket sales and participation fees as well as additional expenses associated with events that have had to be cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus.

SCOTLAND – The Scottish Government
Guidance as of 26/03/2020
On 26 March: We are now preparing regulations to give police in Scotland enforcement powers. They will help to enforce the rule that there should be no public gatherings of more than two people, except where those people are from the same household, or in other limited circumstances such as responding to an emergency or work related purposes where that is genuinely essential. View full statement here.

SPAIN – Spanish Government Statement (in Spanish only)
Guidance as of 17/03/2020
• All public and private life and activities affected: mass gatherings and circulation of groups of people not allowed.
• Closure of schools and universities, administrations, restaurants/bars and non-essential services. Events, business activities, congresses cancelled. Public transport limited.
Sporting activities and events cancelled or postponed (both professional and amateur), including any outdoor or indoor training of athletes.
• Sports federations, clubs and institutions’ activities reduced and slowed, administrative subsidies and procedures as well.
Government: urgent measures to fight Covid-19’s social and economic impact (BOE 17 March)

SWEDEN – The Swedish Government
Guidance as of 27/03/2020
The government has decided to limit public gatherings from 500 people to 50 people. Anyone who violates the decision risk fine or imprisonment for up to six months. The new guidelines applies from 29 March 2020 and is valid until further notice. Read more here (in Swedish only).

SWITZERLAND – Federal Office of Public Health
Guidance as of 26/03/2020
The Federal Council has banned public and private events. This also includes sporting events and club activities. All establishments open to the public will be closed. This arrangement applies until 19th April 2020.
Gatherings in public spaces of more than five people are prohibited. Public spaces include squares, promenades and parks. If five or fewer people meet, they must maintain a distance of two metres from one another. Anyone not complying with this rule will be fined.

THAILAND – Ministry of Public Health, Department of Disease Control
Guidance as of 17/03/2020
All events have been cancelled including cultural events such as the full moon parties and Songkran celebrations. Mass gatherings have been prohibited to respect physical distancing measures.

UNITED KINGDOM – The UK Government
Guidance as of 23/03/2020
In line with the social distancing guidance it is advised that large gatherings should not take place. While the risks of transmitting the disease at mass gatherings are relatively low, these steps will also allow emergency services that would have been deployed for these events to be prioritised in alleviating pressure on public services. Read UK Government’s social distancing guidance.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – Centres for disease control and preventions
Guidance as of 16/03/2020
Centres for Disease Control, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
US President Donald Trump said at a White House news conference (16th March): “my administration is recommending that all Americans, including the young and healthy, work to engage in schooling from home when possible, avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, avoid discretionary travel and avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and public food courts.”


World Health Organisation

Message from IAEH Director Iain Edmondson to the Event Hosts community (Yorkshire, UK. 20th March 2020):

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