Skip to main content

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - For information on changes to our services, how to get help, support your community, advice and grants for employers and businesses visit our Coronavirus pages.

  1. Home
  2. Business and licensing
  3. Apply or renew licences and permits
  4. Organising public events
  5. Event safety

Event safety

Event safety during Coronavirus restrictions

The law currently states that you must not meet in a group of more than six, indoors or outdoors, unless you have an exception. The police have powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines of £200, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £6,400 and penalties on organisers up to £10,000.

Outdoor events that are organised by businesses, charitable organisations, and public bodies, are not restricted to any number of attendees provided:

(i) they have carried out a thorough risk assessment

(ii) they have taken all reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of viral transmission, taking into account that risk assessment, in line with Covid-19 Secure guidance

(iii) social distancing between different households or support bubbles, and between staff and performers, is maintained at all times.

In particular, those operating venues or running events following COVID-19 Secure guidelines should take additional steps to ensure the safety of the public and prevent gatherings of more than six people taking place within that event.

Indoor events must comply with the regulations and the usual standards of risk assessment for their premises. Guidance for multi-purpose community venues is available from GOV.UK.

Events within the context of Public Worship

Events which take place within the context of public worship should follow the guidance on public worship. For example, a remembrance event at the start of a public act of worship in a recognised place of worship or outdoors, or regular acts of worship which have a remembrance theme to them.

Each faith community nationally has issued its own guidance and this guidance should also be referred to.

Guidance for event organisers

Legal responsibility for public safety at events rests with the organisers of the event and the owners of the land upon which it takes place.

The police have no general duty to preserve public safety at any public event except where there are imminent or likely threats to life. This means officers will not be used to police events and organisers need to plan for a safe event which does not rely on a police presence.

If you are holding an event to which the public are invited you will need to notify the Safety Advisory Group, complete an assessment checklist and nominate an event safety officer. Notification forms can be found on pages 10 and 11 of the:

There is also useful information on the GOV.UK website: Organising a voluntary event a 'can do' guide.

Safety Advisory Group (SAG)

SAG brings together all the agencies that have an interest in the safety and environmental impact of public events to do the following:

1. Advise organisers of licensed and unlicensed events on matters relating to:

  • the prevention of crime and disorder
  • the prevention of public nuisance
  • public safety
  • the protection of children from harm

2. Advise the Licensing Authority (West Oxfordshire District Council) on appropriate conditions for large licensed event

The group is made up of representatives from:

  • Local authorities (licensing, environmental health, trading standards and highways)
  • South Central Ambulance Service
  • Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Thames Valley Police
  • Emergency planning

For more information email or call 01993 861000.