Updated covid-19 advice provided to organisers of public events

The continuation of essential COVID-19 related public health guidance has been considered carefully by East Lothian Council with new advice issued today to local community groups planning future events.

East Lothian Council Leader, Willie Innes, explained: “COVID-19 has had a huge impact across the globe and continues to require appropriate measures and guidelines to protect public health. We have been very fortunate in East Lothian to have had individuals and groups within our communities working to support East Lothian Council and a range of partners to preserve and safeguard critical local services and to help keep our communities as safe as possible.”

“We have followed all Scottish Government and Public Health guidance for the local management from the emergency response phases through to some gradual relaxation of restrictions, but we currently remain in Phase 3 of the Scottish Government’s Route Map to recovery and are expected to do so for some time ahead.”

“East Lothian Council and a range of community groups organise and support a number of highly regarded and well attended annual events across the county. This year, with COVID-19 continuing to pose a risk to public health, it was felt appropriate to review and consider the safe operation of such events. We continue to observe current guidance which has been supported with new Scottish Government legislation that came into force last week placing a duty on anyone providing a public event to ‘take all reasonable measures to ensure physical distancing and hygiene measures are in place’.

“At this time of year planning would be underway for bonfire night firework displays, Remembrance Parades and Christmas lights switch-on events. With considerable regret, the council has decided not to proceed with the Musselburgh firework event this November and requests that similar community group events and gatherings over the festive season are postponed this year.”

“It is predicted that there is a greater risk of coronavirus spread as we move into winter and so gathering many local people together for community events, even outdoors, poses a considerable risk to public health. Also, many of our High Streets and locations where Christmas Lights are erected are confined spaces, albeit outdoor spaces.   During the response phase of the COVID-19 emergency when adherence to physical distancing and public health advice is essential, it would not be possible to ensure the safety of potentially hundreds of participants at gatherings in, for example, narrow areas of high streets and would be contrary to the Scottish Government Routemap.

“Whilst we understand that the cancellation of these popular events will bring some disappointment we are also aware of the determination and support of local communities to organise future celebrations when appropriate to do so.”

Published: Friday, 4th September 2020