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Christmas Parties and COVID-19

This December is set to be the first Christmas party season with COVID-19 a risk factor, with Christmas parties in 2020 not being possible.

Lots of organisations have not organised Christmas parties this year or have decided to cancel them due to rising case numbers. You may feel reluctant to make arrangements in case there are further restrictions when the relevant time comes. If you haven’t already planned a Christmas party but still intend to, several venues are now offering COVID refund guarantees.

If you do decide to hold a Christmas party, then the most significant risk is that your entire workforce is hit at the same time with COVID which would be likely to cause significant risk to your business. In addition, employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees in the workplace. A Christmas party does constitute an extension of the workplace, even if the event takes place outside of normal working hours and away from company premises.

Employees should not attend your Christmas party if they feel unwell with symptoms that could be COVID-19.

You may want to consider whether you host an all-staff Christmas party, or seek to reduce numbers to reduce the risk of potential disruption, by arranging smaller team-based get-togethers for example.

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