The ACC Liverpool Group has welcomed news that conferences, business events and indoor performances may be able to restart from autumn.

In a news briefing this morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out plans “to restart indoor performances to a live audience subject to the success of pilots” as well as plans to “pilot larger gatherings in venues like sport stadia with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn.”

He continued: “From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadia and to allow conferences and other business events to recommence.  Again, these changes must be done in a Covid-secure way subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”

Earlier this week, Max Steinberg – chair of The ACC Liverpool Group – together with Joe Anderson, mayor of Liverpool, and Marcus Magee, chair of the Liverpool Hospitality Association, urged the government to provide an urgent timeline for the return of business events warning of the “existential threat” to the continued viability of the city’s multi-billion pound visitor economy.

In the letter, the mayor and business leaders wrote: We are calling on you to set out a clear set of dates for a return to conference and business events, in order to allow this critical sector in the economy of Liverpool to begin to plan how it will survive this existential threat to its continued viability.”

Bob Prattey, chief executive of The ACC Liverpool Group, operators of ACC Liverpool, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and M&S Bank Arena, said: “We welcome the news that conferences, business events and live entertainment will be able to restart from autumn subject to the success of pilot events.

“Our teams have been working behind the scenes to ensure that we are able to offer a safe environment for bringing organised events and large numbers of delegates back together again.

“Our campus has been operational throughout this time – working as a distribution centre for Liverpool City Council – therefore all social distancing protocols and management have already become second nature to our teams.

“While we understand the restart is subject to the successful completion of pilot events – and events will look somewhat different to what we have previously been used to – we welcome the challenges this new landscape will bring.”

In Liverpool alone, the business events sector is worth over £3.3bn a year, contributes 48% of business rates and supports 38,000 jobs across Liverpool.  The conference and events sector as a whole is worth £70 billion to the UK economy.

Prattey added: “We would like to reassure all visitors that we are prepared and very much looking forward to opening our doors again as soon as we are able to do so.”

As well as joining with regional business leaders in its lobbying efforts, The ACC Liverpool Group is a member of the event industry initiative ‘Project Confidence’ consisting of partners across industry bodies ESSA (Event Supplier and Services Association), the AEO (Association of Event Organisers) and AEV (Association of Event Venues) in readiness for the return of events.

Through submitting its new Covid-19 secure operational plans and procedures, The ACC Liverpool Group has already received Covid-19 secure accreditation from Visit England, through its ‘Good to Go’ consumer standard and the Meetings Industry Association’s ‘AIM Secure’ standard for business events.