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07 Dec 2020

An Open Letter to the Events Industry

An Open Letter to the Events Industry from Angela Hodson

As we enter what would normally be one of the busiest months of the year for our industry and a time of celebration, I wanted to extend the best wishes of all at Emirates Old Trafford to you, your teams and your families for the festive period.  

2020 has been an unprecedented year in every way imaginable, but we look forward to 2021 with renewed optimism that face-to-face events for groups of all sizes are very close to a return nationwide.

The recent news regarding the Government’s authorisation of a Covid-19 vaccine is a pivotal moment in the global fight against coronavirus. While we await the true impact of the vaccine on the wider public, we are patiently adhering to the current Government guidelines for business events.

The current Tier system places the following restrictions on corporate events, depending on location:

  • Tier 1– Business meetings and events are permitted at a cap of 50% of the venue’s capacity or 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors, whichever is lowest. This capacity refers to the total number of people per event and does not include venue staff.
  • Tier 2– The same rules as Tier 1 except for a reduction in the limit to 2,000 people permitted in outdoor settings.
  • Tier 3– Business meetings may take place with up to a total of 30 people if reasonably necessary and the venue must be able to demonstrate it has followed the Meetings Industry Association's Covid-19 guidance.

As you may already be aware, Manchester is currently classified as a Tier 3 area, meaning Emirates Old Trafford is currently restricted to business meetings of up to 30 people. We continue to operate on this basis and have safely hosted several events pre and post local lockdown measures.

For example, we were delighted to welcome British Swimming for a crucial Board Meeting recently and we are increasingly finding that organisations are desperate to have face-to-face meetings in a safe and secure environment with tried and tested protocols, such as ours.

The feedback from our guests during this interim period, plus the record-breaking number of ballot applications we’ve received for the International cricket at the venue in 2021, is testament to the desire of people to see the return of live events and the confidence they have in Emirates Old Trafford to safely host them.

We are extremely hopeful that our current Tier 3 classification will be downgraded very soon. When Manchester does move in to Tier 2, we will be allowed to host larger-scale indoor events for up to 500 people and outdoor events up to 2,000 guests, with immediate effect.

In truth, we’ve been ready to welcome guests back to Emirates Old Trafford since the summer when we successfully hosted 21 days of International cricket behind-closed-doors in a bio-secure bubble.

During this period, more than 6,000 COVID-19 tests were administered at the venue, with all tests returning negative results. We completely re-wrote our operating procedures, hired a dedicated Coronavirus Officer and completed over 100 new risk assessments at the venue.

Off the back of this experience, Emirates Old Trafford launched the Safe in One Place campaign to share the knowledge and best practice we gained with the wider events industry.

This is one example of our commitment to doing all we can to help lead the way back for the events sector. We understand just how challenging these times are and we want to provide our stakeholders and their employees with as much support and information as we can.

In addition to meticulous safety measures we installed to host behind-closed-doors cricket, we continue to offer venue visitors a range of solutions to ensure they have complete peace-of-mind. To this end, we recently invested in a hybrid studio that allows guests to transform in-person gatherings in to full-scale virtual events.

We hope that for our partners who have events already booked in at Emirates Old Trafford are reassured by the steps we have taken and are looking forward to hosting your event with us. We will be keeping you updated regarding Manchester’s tiering classification, but should you have any questions in the meantime please don’t hesitate to contact our sales team directly on 0161 282 4020 or click here to fill out an enquiry form.

We’re ready to safely welcome guests back to Emirates Old Trafford and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in 2021. In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy the Christmas period.

Very best wishes,

Angela Hodson, Sales Director, Emirates Old Trafford