As the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve globally, event rules and restrictions are changing by the day. Here are some of the latest developments affecting event planners.
Coming out of a period of heightened alert, Singapore is considering raising the limit on event attendee numbers as national vaccine coverage widens.
"If the situation remains stable, and 50% of the population is fully vaccinated [which could happen by end July], we will consider doubling attendee numbers for activities and venues including MICE events, live performances, spectator sports, receptions – [as long as] they are attended by fully vaccinated individuals," Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong announced at a press conference.
This will apply to individuals who have received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty or Moderna vaccine, and excludes Sinovac due to "limited data" on efficacy against the Delta variant.
Further details will need to be ironed out, such as differentiated measures for those ineligible for the two mRNA vaccines. Potentially, unvaccinated individuals may be permitted to attend larger gatherings if they undergo pre-event testing, Wong explained.
For now, the cap on MICE events stands at 250 persons with pre-event testing; or up to 50 persons without.
From 15 July onwards, the Fast and Easy Testing regime will become mandatory for higher risk sectors. Staff working in dine-in eateries, personal cares services and fitness studios will be required to be tested every 14 days.
In a similar move, Hong Kong last month relaxed event restrictions, pegged to vaccination status of attendees. If two-thirds of business events participants has received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, the maximum number of participants allowed will be relaxed to 100% of the normal capacity of the premises. Otherwise, the maximum number of participants allowed will be relaxed to 50% of the normal capacity of the premises.
According to authorities, restrictions could be further relaxed if more are vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.
Starting 13 July, Taiwan has eased some restrictions on events, although its nationwide Level 3 Covid-19 alert has been extended to 26 July.
Museums, exhibition halls and cultural centers have reopened, subject to a 100 attendee cap. Concert halls have resumed shows, but no audiences are allowed.
Indoor gatherings are still capped at four, and outdoor gatherings capped at nine people.
Small domestic group travel of no more than nine people, including service staff, will also be allowed starting 13 July.
Thailand has tightened Covid-19 restrictions for Bangkok and the five surrounding provinces, effective for 14 days from 12 July to 25 July, 2021.
As part of the new rules, public and private organisations, as well as individuals, are to avoid any activities deemed risky and involving more than five people.
The nation had previously announced a ban on activities involving over 20 attendees from 28 June to 27 July, 2021 or until further notice. Exceptions were made for events specially permitted by the authorities, organised by the authorities or held within quarantine zones.
England will be moving to its final stage of relaxing Covid restrictions on 19 July, which means there'll no longer be caps on attending large events such as spectator sports or live concerts. The one-metre distancing rule will also be removed.
However, venues expecting large crowds are still encouraged to ask for proof of 'vaccine passports' — showing negative Covid test results, or that the visitor has received two vaccination jabs.
Hospitality establishments do not have to observe capacity limits and table service restrictions; and nightclubs and other businesses will now be able to open.
It is no longer mandatory to wear face masks. Individuals will have a choice even in situations where masks are recommended by the government.
Recently, Switzerland allowed large events of up to 10,000 people if they can show proof of vaccination status, test result, or recovery from the virus.