As events return to North Yorkshire with the easing of pandemic restrictions, organisers and attendees are being reassured that support is on hand to help them to stay safe.
Activities including sport, live performances and community events can now take place on a larger scale, and agencies that form North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum are supporting event organisers in hosting safe, enjoyable events that adhere to the guidelines.
Local authorities and emergency services work together in local Safety Advisory Groups (SAGs), which act in each district as the point of contact for event organisers.
SAGs support event organisers by offering specialist advice and guidance about hosting an event to ensure all safety measures are in place.
Vikki Flowers, Chair of the Safety Advisory Groups, said: “We are really keen to support event organisers, because we want events to go ahead safely, to show off North Yorkshire and for people to come to North Yorkshire and enjoy it safely. We want people to be assured that when they attend an event it is going to be safe.”
The SAGs have produced guidance that sets out what organisers should consider, including managing social distancing, site capacity and test and trace, as well as good communications with people attending and the impact on the local community. Organisers must produce a Covid risk assessment, which their SAG will review.
“At the moment we don’t have specific Government guidance for what will happen after 21 June,” said Vikki. “However, across North Yorkshire we are advising event organisers still to be prepared, because we want their events to go ahead and make it a really good summer. It is better for them to be prepared and have Covid arrangements in place, rather than to have to put them in at the last minute.
“If you are organising an event in North Yorkshire, contact your local Safety Advisory Group. We are here to support and help you put on a safe event.”
Event organisers can find information, guidance and contact details for their local Safety Advisory Group. Links to SAGs can also be found on district council websites.
Among familiar events on the North Yorkshire calendar set to go ahead this year is Stokesley Show, which is scheduled for 18 September.
Show secretary Janette Hugill said: “We are planning to go ahead at the moment. We are waiting to see what comes from the Government on 21 June, as I know are several other shows.
“We are inundated with people who want a trade stand or to be in a craft marquee. Competitors are saying they can’t wait, they are looking forward to it.”
Measures are in place to help visitors feel as safe as possible. These include plenty of staff to ensure social distancing is maintained as people queue to enter, constant cleaning of barriers around the site, a one-way system in marquees, no touching of animals in the show and plenty of hand sanitiser units. “You shouldn’t be able to go more than 20 strides without running into one,” says Janette.
“We are doing our absolute utmost to go ahead,” she said. “We need the reassurance and the backing of the Safety Advisory Group just to confirm that the plans we have in place are satisfactory and comply with Government legislation and that we’re doing everything we can do.”
North Yorkshire’s Public Health team is heavily involved in the SAGs, and also has tips for people attending events.
Public Health Consultant Katie Needham said: “We really want people to enjoy themselves, but in a safe way.”
Katie suggests that anyone going to an event should plan ahead. If you are car sharing with family and friends, take precautions such as wearing facemasks and opening the windows for ventilation. Throughout any event, remember hands, face, space and fresh air.
Events may have a code of conduct to outline what to expect and what is expected of attendees, so read those in advance. Expect to queue in some instances and remember to adhere to social distancing rules. Remember your facemask and take your own hand sanitiser for convenience.
If you experience Covid-19 symptoms before an event, stay at home. If you become unwell at an event, go home straightaway, start isolating and book a test.
“Think carefully about the event you’re attending and do all you can to keep you and your family safe and protected from the virus,” said Katie.