EVENT organisers have insisted Hampshire is “very much open” for live gatherings – but have warned the chancellor of their “grave concerns” for the industry.

The events industry employs a million people in the UK and is estimated to be worth around £100billion to the economy.

Gatherings off up to 30 people are currently allowed to go ahead at Covid-secure venues, with larger events due to resume in October subject to confirmation from government.

Venue capacities will be reduced, so that the Southampton Harbour Hotel will be able to host only 43 people theatre-style in its largest room, whereas it could previously accommodate 250.

St Mary’s Stadium will be able to host an event for up to 130 guests in a room that usually holds 500.

Leonardo Royal, another of the city’s major venues, will safely accommodate up to 250 theatre-style in its Mayflower Suite when the industry reopens.

Destination Southampton Conference Bureau and the Hampshire Conference Bureau say enquiries are starting to come in.

Shirley Wynne-Jones, event director at Destination Southampton Conference Bureau, said: “Enquiries from organisers of events for training and meetings plus larger enquiries for conferences and banquets, mostly for 2021 are being received.

“We are working hard to raise awareness that smaller gatherings up to 30 people can take place in Southampton and Hampshire. Throughout these challenging times I have kept in touch with venues and we are all supporting each other.

“At the same time I have written to our local MPs and chancellor Rishi Sunak and shared our grave concerns for the future of the industry.”

Interaction during coffee breaks and lunch will be different – and in many cases, catering will arrive at meeting rooms in sealed containers and bags.

Information about delegates must be captured by the venue for the NHS Track and Trace system.

Many venues are offering complimentary face coverings and temperature checks and all have sanitising stations and social distance signs.

Venues will carry We’re Good To Go mark, which shows a business has worked to follow Covid-19 guidelines, and the All Secure Standard of the Event Supplier and Services Association.