Venues across the country are struggling to update their contracts in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. In a deeply fragmented industry offering non comparable services there is no clear consensus as to what venues should be offering.
As a venue booking agent we are talking to venues and clients all day every day. In these dark days where so many are trying to obfuscate we thought it might be useful to try and shed a little light on best practise in terms of the contract terms.
Helpfully the MIA (Meetings Industry Association) in conjunction with the lawyers Mischon de Reya has produced some guidance on what they consider best practise to be! – Clearly this is from a venue perspective!
· Firstly the recommend that all venues include a pandemic clause!
· The aim of their recommended clause is to comply with government guidance, as such they have drawn up the following wording.
Both parties acknowledge the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the UK and accept their obligation to comply with any official guidance from UK Government. The parties agree to communicate without delay any issues they may have in performing their obligations under this agreement. You [organiser] acknowledge that COVID-19 may require us to take one or more of the following measures for the safety of our staff and the safety of delegates attending the event to which this booking relates: (i) impose maximum delegate numbers at the event; (ii) limit food or drink availability;
(iii) impose specific requirements regarding personal protective equipment such as the wearing of masks; (iv) restrict the numbers of overnight stays if applicable; and/or (v) limit any planned entertainment for your event; (vi) designate alternative entrance and exit routes. In some circumstances we might consider revising your booking fee. If we are obliged due to specific Government restrictions, to close our venue, we may offer you an alternative date for the event but if that cannot be agreed the booking will be deemed cancelled and your deposit will be returned in full with no further payment required. If you are unable to provide the agreed delegate numbers because of infections or travel restrictions, then we will offer you either a proportionate reduced fee for the event or agree to cancel the booking and return your deposit and any additional sums already paid in accordance with mia guidelines. If delegate numbers decrease below 70% of the contracted number (notified by the organiser in writing a minimum of 15 working days prior to event), we reserve the right to cancel the event.
As one of the leading venue booking agencies in the UK it is our intention to post more examples of venues and clients reactions to coronavirus pandemic as they surface.
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