Looking ahead to 2021
As we approach the end of 2020, many of us are pausing to take stock and look back at the most extraordinary year in our economic history. Approaching 2021 with cautious optimism, further news of vaccine approvals paves the way for pent up demand in live events and conferences to turn into orders when the tier restrictions are lifted, although it is not known when this will be. Multi-day events are certainly a way off, with blanket instructions from Government suggesting changes will be coming to operating policies and procedures.
Currently, events in Tier 1 and 2 will be asked to follow the All Secure Standard. The BPMA has been in discussions to provide further input for guidelines for merchandise as these remain unclear. Events in Tier 3 are still not permitted. Smaller business meetings are still advised against but they may take place with a total of 30 people if ‘reasonably necessary’ for work that cannot be carried out at home and follows the guidelines.
Government guidance notes: “Adapting to Covid-19 measures will inevitably result in changes to operating policies, processes and procedures of hotels, indoor, outdoor attractions and business event centres and venues.
Any changes should always be considered alongside security implications. If you have a security department or manager, they should be consulted to help ensure good security is maintained as far as possible and that there are no unintended security consequences as a result of changes. This should be achieved by conducting a security risk assessment.”
Specific examples of where security implications may arise include queuing, search and screening (where this has been directed by a wider government policy on security), maintaining vigilance for potential threats, and access controls.”
Whilst the events and hospitality industry holds on for clearer news as the R rate drops, end users continue to plan and prepare for future events.
Brexit talks down to the wire
As we wait in anticipation for further outcomes for the final negotiations, export and import still loom as major challenges for businesses all over the UK. If there is no deal, border checks and taxes will be introduced for goods travelling between the UK and EU. With major delays already being experienced at ports, the transport bodies and BPMA have raised the delays as warning signs with Government teams, asking for urgent input from Ministers to ensure the transition period does not see goods stalling in January.
The BPMA have surveyed businesses over the last week, hearing many will be closing early for the Christmas period and that includes ceasing deliveries too. Members have spoken to the BPMA about ensuring deliveries over the Christmas period are limited to domestic, unsure of the impact of having goods in European depots with no deal very much a reality.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented this week he was ‘absolutely committed’ to ‘getting a deal if we can’. In addition, the Government confirmed in the last 24hrs it will ask MPs to reinstate controversial legislation giving ministers the power to break international law by ignoring provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland.
MPs will vote on the UK Internal Market Bill on Monday, potentially throwing talks on a UK-European Union trade deal into crisis unless an agreement can be reached by then. Let’s hope Lord Frost and Michel Barnier can continue talks for post-Brexit deals positively in the meantime. With only days to go, whilst this news might not give us all confidence, we can be certain of the changes already in place being part of our trading lives with Europe from January 2021.