President: Philip Paris.

Vice Presidents: John W. Thurston, Keith S. Carroll

Treasurer: J.C.G.Edwards

(Founded 1889)


Registered Office:

Guild House, 41, Clarence Street, Staines-upon-Thames, Middlesex. TW18 4SY

Tel: 01784 461805   Email:

Covid-19 Guidance for Risk Assessment for Funfairs


  • Updated as of 2nd June 2021 as received back from DCMS & HSE including links for Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland and Track & Trace  details
  • This Guidance Still in force pending any updates that may be communicated by the DCMS and DHSC (The Dept. of Health and Social Care) Westminster government Department; Public Health England and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH); as well as the Scottish Parliament ; the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly; in agreement with the Travelling Fairground Industry, which will be incorporated into this document once agreed.


  1. Introduction

The UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical that employers, employees, the self-employed and customers take steps to keep everyone safe.

This document is to help all workers in the UK Travelling Fairground Sector understand:

  • how to work safely and keep their customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • keeping as many people as possible socially distant from those they do not live with and are not part of their support bubble.


We hope it gives you freedom, within a practical framework, to think about what you need to do, in order to continue, or restart, operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We understand how important it is to work safely and support the health and well-being of workers, volunteers, customers and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic and not contribute to the spread of the virus.


This document has been prepared in consultation with all major Travelling Showmen’s associations:

  • Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain (SGGB),
  • Association of Independent Showmen (AIS),
  • Amusement Catering Equipment Society (ACES) and
  • Society of Independent Roundabout Proprietors (SIRP).

As well as consultation with HSE.



Public health is devolved in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; this guidance should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements and legislation in  those countries & Territory, within the United Kingdom.

For advice to businesses in other parts of the UK, please see guidance set by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government, and the Welsh Government.

  • For Scotland, please see:

  • For Wales, please see:

  • For Northern Ireland, please see:


While this guidance applies to England, you should always consider whether there are local restrictions in place in your area. If so, you should first read the guidance relevant to your area as this may supersede guidance in this document.

We expect that this document will be updated over time. This version is up to date as of 2nd June 2021.




1.1. How to use this guidance

This Guidance is to be used in conjunction with and will refer to:



  1. Risk assessment:


By following the good practices of the way fairs should be run according to existing guidance; Operators, with their managers and staff can carry out the extra safeguards for COVID-19 in a practical way that makes everybody safe and in a way that is easy to follow.


2.1: The first and most important duty of an operating Showmen, reopening funfairs from July 2020 is to produce a COVID-19 Risk Assessment that takes into account:

  • the importance of maintaining social distancing. People should continue to socially distance from those they do not live with wherever possible. Social interactions should be limited to a group of no more than two households (indoors and out) or up to six people from different households (if outdoors).
  • 2m or 1m with risk mitigation (where 2m is not viable) are acceptable. You should consider and set out the mitigations you will introduce in your risk assessment, such as Face-Covering and extra Hand-Sanitisation)


2.2:  As employers, Funfair Operators and Managers must protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect their workers and others from coronavirus. This is called a COVID-19 risk assessment and it’ll help each operator to manage risk and protect people.

2.3: Operators and managers must:

  • identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  • think about who could be at risk
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk


If you have fewer than five employees, you don’t have to write anything down, but it is recommended to do so.

The HSE has produced guidance to help you work safely (be COVID-secure) and manage the risk associated with running your business at this time that includes practical measures to take, for example:

  • putting in place social distancing measures
  • staggering shifts
  • providing additional handwashing facilities


There is detailed Guidance from HSE (‘What to put in your Covid-19 risk assessment’) that can be downloaded as a PDF including identifying:

  • What are the Hazards?
  • Who might be harmed and how?
  • The controls that you are putting into place to prevent that harm
  • What further actions you need to consider to control the risks?
  • Who needs to carry out the action?
  • and When is the action needed by?





The trade associations mentioned above – Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain (SGGB),

Association of Independent Showmen (AIS), Amusement Catering Equipment Society (ACES) and Society of Independent Roundabout Proprietors (SIRP) – additionally can assist with advice on producing your own risk assessment.


  1. Consultation:

3.1: Talking to your staff and providing information

It is important to consult and involve your staff in the steps you are taking to manage the risk of COVID-19 in your workplace (fairground or business premises including your yard). This means you should:

  • explain the changes you are planning to work safely and why. Some of these changes may be new to them
  • make sure changes will work and hear their ideas for improvements. Your workers will be the ones who will have to carry out the work at the fair
  • continue to operate your business safely during the outbreak


HSE has Guidance with more details on this (‘Talking with your workers about working safely  during the coronavirus outbreak’.)

The benefit of this is that your staff, in conjunction with operators and managers, will be able to reassure your visitors and ensure that social distancing and other COVID-19 mitigation measures are complied with by everyone for their safety.


3.2: Initial consultation and continuing dialogue with Local Authorities & landowners:

Before setting up any fair, there will always be a dialogue and an agreement to operate with the relevant Local Authority and / or landowner.

  • The operation of any planned fair will be within HSG175 and additionally now according to the agreed government COVID-19 legislation; mitigation procedures and guidance.
  • Operators should initiate and maintain a continuing dialogue with the Local Authority on the operational procedures of each specific fair with presentation and discussion of the specific risk assessment and method statement that will ensure that it is Covid-19 secure at all times
  • this should include the arrival and setting up procedures of the fair;
  • how you plan to communicate to the public about the fair and what steps have been taken to ensure that Covid-19 risks are being minimised, prior to visitors’ arrival;
  • the opening of the fair to visitors and its detailed daily operation in ensuring social distancing and Covid-19 mitigation by all present
  • the procedures in place for Track & Trace, according to government guidelines
  • the dismantling and departure of the fair according to Government guidance on Construction, relative to Covid-19 mitigation.
  • Details of the relevant Guidance from the Government, HSE and trade associations (listed below) should be available for presentation and discussion with the Local Authority.


3.3: Initial consultation and continuing dialogue with all attractions operators:


A similar consultation on all these points and agreement of the operational procedures in full, should be undertaken by the fairground Organiser with each constituent operator .

  • dissemination of the details of this consultation  should be cascaded to all staff of each operator, to ensure uniformity of purpose in operating all aspects of the fair safely and to additionally ensure that the fair is completely Covid-secure.



  1. Arrival and setting up the fair:


4.1: Objective: To maintain social distancing between individuals when they are erecting and dismantling fairground equipment:


Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Review how the fairground equipment or other attraction are erected and dismantled and devise a safe system of work to allow social distancing to be maintained. It must be remembered that any system of work must not introduce additional risks, such as work at height. 
  • Consider the use of mechanical lifting aids, where it is safe to do so as they may alleviate the need to work in proximity of others. 
  • Use a consistent pairing system if people have to work in proximity, including for example, installation and maintenance activities that cannot be redesigned.
  • You should discourage the practice of working on multiple fairground rides and attractions during the erection and dismantling phase if social distancing cannot be maintained and/or there is a risk of contamination of COVID 19, on high frequency contact points, such as access ladders etc.


In practice: 

  • Setting out the ground to make more space for customers to walk round, with social distancing of 2-metres (1-metre+ other measures on the rides where necessary).
  • Consider adding signage and maps explaining where the attractions; the toilets and hand sanitising stations, in the layout.
  • Consider the positions in the fairground- layout of entrances; queuing areas and exits to rides and attractions.
  • Have a plan for who is working together on each ride or attraction, so that they stay in their working groups and are able to access toilet and refreshment facilities separately from other working teams.
  • Consider planning staggered arrival times to the site for attractions’ attractions
  • Consider how you will arrange the arrival of customers to the fair and the space they will need, on arrival by car and by public transport.


  1. Opening and operating the fair:


5.1 Objective: To ensure social distancing on the fairground


  • The government requirement for social distancing should be considered in planning the venue layout; taking into consideration the principles set out in HSG 175 – Fairgrounds and amusement parks: Guidance on safe practice
  • Make customers aware of, and encourage compliance, with social distancing. For example, on arrival; at booking; or in your social media posts.
  • Fairground customers may arrive together in their family groups / support bubble.


  • Conducting a specific risk assessment for each fair or event and the proposed activities to identify:
  1. The arrival of visitors to the fair at different times of its operation; which activities can be undertaken, and which spaces can be used with specific measures to ensure social distancing and maintain cleanliness.

Avoiding congestion in areas with high foot fall, for example entrance and exit points onto the fair, queue lines for rides, food/drink outlets and toilets.


Steps to be considered:

  • Regulating use of high-traffic areas including toilets, ride queues, food and beverage outlets, to maintain social distancing.
  • Introducing a one-way flow of visitors through the fairground.
  • Providing signage to remind customers to follow to social-distancing wherever possible.
  • Using screens to create a physical barrier between staff and customers at regular contact points, for example the pay-box or food kiosks.
  • Using signage to direct customers to food and drink collections points and toilets and introducing one-way flow routes through signage that clearly indicate the direction of flow;
  • Further measures can be considered, such as barriersor designated staff to direct customers.


In practice: Ensuring suitable social distancing on rides & attractions:


Risk Assessment relating to the ‘Rule of Six’ (initially introduced on 14th September 2020 onwards and updated  17th May 2021:

the operation of the fair will include the administration of and enforcement of the new ‘Rule-of-Six’ that came into force in England initially on Monday 14th September 2020 and was updated  17th May 2021 as ‘Making a support bubble with another household’). Look out for variations of this.


The fair should already be able to host larger numbers, and be Covid-secure in line with the relevant guidance, so they will continue to be able to do so as follows:

  • by limiting guests arriving to groups of  no more than six, from one household
  • and maintaining the groupings of no more than six or two combined household bubbles together throughout the fair.(Look out for variations of Household Bubble legislation & Guidance in Devolved Territories.
  • This will be achieved through the following active measures throughout the operating day of the fair:


At the entrance and approaching the entrance:

  • Signage explaining the ‘Rule-of-Six / Household Bubbles’ / Combined household bubbles at the entrance and in the area in front of the entrance; supported by marks on the found outlining the grouping-of-six positions for arriving customers.
  • This will be reinforced by the stewards and Security  at the entrance; explaining verbally the new law and reiterating to the customers that they must stay within their ‘support-bubble’ / combined household group of six (or less) throughout their visit to the fair.
  • If groups of more than six present themselves approaching the entrance of the fair (there is one entrance and the fair is fully enclosed) they will be advised of the Rule-of-Six and advised that  groups of no more than six  / combined household bubbles will be admitted.
  • In doing this, the staff at the entrance will satisfy themselves that the groupings are already pre-existing groups, rather than individuals meeting up at the entrance.




Within the fair itself, including open areas and at entrances /  product-purchasing areas:

  • Numbers of attending visitors overall will be managed to  ensure that  there is plenty of space for groups of no more than six can circulate  within the fair without  interacting with each other.
  • There will be further signage throughout the fair and at the entrances of each ride and attraction, including further floor markings (described above) as appropriate.
  • This will be reinforced but patrolling stewards and security officers throughout the fair.
  • There will additionally be reminder verbal announcements  on the public address sound-systems on the rides and other attractions, where they exist, to repeat the  importance of the need  for Groups-of-Six (or less) to keep apart from other groups of Six (or less).
  • Numbers attending the fair overall are also closely monitored.



Working with the Group of six  as a formalising of a pre-existing practice at Funfairs:

  • The operation of the Group-of-Six / Household Bubbles is not a new phenomenon at Funfairs.
  • This is because, in common with other fairs in local communities in this area, the operation of the Fairground is similar to that of  a Market, that the Fairs across Britain derive from.
  • It is a trading environment where  visitors choose which activity to participate in  and which items to buy, in the same way as they would at a market or a shop.
  •  visitors tend to remain in their ‘family Bubbles’ – in this case a maximum of six.
  • the visitors come and go to the fair in the same way as they do to a Shop or Shopping Centre – or a Market – not all the day’s visitors are there together, any more than they are at a shop or market or shopping centre.
  • This is significantly different from an Event such as a music Festival, where visitors attend  as  a cohesive group, with a common purpose, where interaction between former strangers is  inevitable and where imitation of collective behaviours is the norm. Such events are rightfully described as ‘Gatherings’.
  • The experience of operating teams at the fairs that have been organised since Fairgrounds re-started in July 2020, and again since 12 April 2021 has been  that with the social distancing  information in the form of signage and verbal reinforcement and placing of infrastructure to assist this; the flow of customers is more controlled.
  • Moreover, prior to 2020, Funfairs  have operated with family groups (usually less than six) enjoying their visit, keeping within their discrete groups.


  • Experienced Showmen / Showwomen operator with their team operating all aspects of the fair understand audiences in the area of the country operated within.
  • The updated (as of 6th April 2021) and important Rule-of-Six has been discussed with the whole team and each person knows the part they have to play, working together to ensure that the policy (that, as described above, is not new, just formalised) is maintained.
  • It is in this way of operating, with consultation, that all the COVID-19 Mitigations that have been implemented thus far, have been successful  – and recognised as such by the local authorities in the locations where the Showmen / Showwomen’s Funfairs have taken place since July 2020 and into Summer2021.


  • There are many different types of rides and attractions at any fair and therefore a variety of experiences for visitors. This may mean that there are different mitigations of COVID-19 that need to be put in place as safety measures.
  • The specifics of these should be detailed by each operator within their detailed COVID-19 risk assessment that they will produce for each fair.
  • This will vary according to the layout and differing variety of rides & attractions at the fair.
  • Examples of the considerations to be included in all such risk assessments are:
  • For rides and attractions in which visitors are contained; if it is not possible to have a 2-metre distance, 1 meter can be considered with the mitigation depending on the positioning of the containment (seating in the car / carriage)
  • If all the visitors are facing the same way in a row (e.g. on a ‘Miami’ ride) there is less risk than if they are face to face. Consideration of facemasks and appropriate social distancing should be taken.
  • Operators, Managers and staff should engage with visitors and identify family groups as the only visitors who can sit together. All others must observe the social distancing (2 metres or 1 metre with mitigations as defined and set out above)
  • Where there are rows or clusters of seats on a ride or attraction, putting intermittent ones out-of-use, with clearly-visible, but non-intrusive signage (that does not interfere with the operation  and design of the ride or attraction) should be enacted
  • Staff should be trained to engage with visitors and with operators and managers to load and unload rides and attractions to allow social distancing to be maintained.
  • This should be reinforced with clear signage and ‘footstep-style’ floor-markings wherever appropriate from initial queues to loading / unloading positions.
  • Extra time and patience must be exercised by all concerned to ensure that this process is achieved successfully, and this should be explained to all managers, staff and visitors, throughout the fairground, throughout the day.


  • Staff operating containment procedures, which MUST still take place according to HSG175 (and are NOT relaxed due to COVID-19 mitigation); should wear face-visors and consider wearing gloves (but without impeding their carrying out the  critical safety-checks on restraints).


  1. Keeping fairground rides and attractions clean during use:


6.1: Objective: To keep fairground rides, attraction and other facilities and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces:


Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Your risk assessment will help you to identify what your cleaning regime will look like, but there are some general things that you should consider;
  • Identify frequently touched surfaces. Anything that is frequently touched, especially if it’s touched by lots of people, will need more regular cleaning than normal.

There are 2 components in adequate cleaning regimes.

Deep cleaning 

  • Deep cleaning is a thorough clean of all frequently touched surfaces at least once per day.

Periodic cleaning 

  • Periodic cleaning is cleaning at different times throughout the day. Periodic cleaning can include cleaning items immediately after use as well as cleaning surfaces on a regular basis throughout a single day.
  • Using social distance signage, to remind customers to maintain social distance between customers of different households, wherever possible.
  • Encouraging increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities for workers and visitors or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.

In Practice:

  • Ensure that the rides and all attractions are thoroughly cleaned before opening daily and are

wiped down at points of customer high-contact periodically throughout the day, as appropriate.

  • This includes a similar cleaning regime for Inflatables; social distancing should be

maintained. Families can take part in their social bubbles.


  • Bouncy Castles ‘Fun-Bags:

Only children within the same social bubble (if height appropriate) can be on a castle at any one time because of the issue of keeping to social distancing.


Deep clean once a day. If children sanitise their hands before and after use, a periodic cleaning of the castle each hour may suffice.


  • Inflatable Slides.

If strict marshalling and usage is observed with numbers on the slide, operation can continue as per normal risk assessment.


If children sanitise their hands before and after use, the sliding area can be subject to a clean once a day. High touch areas such as climbing steps should be periodically cleaned through the day.

  • Ensure that all staff are briefed on their duties and accept this, including

being protected when working at close quarters with customers (e.g. in securing or opening safety bars and managing customers onto the rides).

  • On games all equipment that visitors use should be wiped down periodically; ideally after

each use. 

  • Prizes on games should not be touched by visitors, prior to being won; If they are, they

should be taken from view and cleaned.

  • Consider having a map with the attractions and facilities marked on it including the location

of toilets and hand-sanitiser points for visitors.

  • Ensure that staff have ready access to sanitiser and hand-washing facilities. 
  • Consider having hand sanitisers at convenient points adjacent to attractions for visitors

to use throughout the fair.

  • It may be an advantage to encourage visitors to bring their own sanitiser additionally,

explaining that you already have plenty at the fair, so that they can top-up their sanitising actions as they go round; this way the visitors can feel involved in the process of staying safe

  • There is an additional risk of infection in environments where you or others are singing, chanting, shouting or conversing loudly. This applies even if others are at a distance to you. You should therefore avoid environments that require you to raise your voice to communicate with anyone outside your household. Music should therefore be played at a lower level.
  • Consider having information for visitors on announcements on the rides and attractions regarding social distancing and information to guide them (visitors do not need to be advised to scream if they want to go faster at this time)
  • Consider having extra bins for disposal of litter and used PPE; Pedal-bins are an option.
  • Rubbish disposal to a larger disposal point away from the public area should be considered

with litter patrols undertaken. Litter-picking sticks should be used and cleaned regularly.

  • Consider the options of alternative payment systems to reduce extra handling of cash
  • Consider the location of toilets, so as to be easily accessible for all visitors and spacing

them to ensure social distancing around them.

  • Consider a cleaning regime and topping-up of supplies including hand sanitiser
  • Food Kiosks: Remember to follow the Food Standards Agency Covid-19 Guidance (originally

issued 20th May 2020; updated 14th May 2021) Ref: Also government guidance has been published on takeaway services .



7.Closing the fair: Dismantling / ‘Pulling-Down’ and leaving site:

This should be operated in the same way as Arriving and Building up, following HSG175 and the CDM Regulations 2015

  • HSG175 Guidance on Fairgrounds and amusement parks: Guidance on safe practice: as well as
  • the CDM regulations 2015 (that relate to Building-Up and Pulling-Down)
  • with additional steps that should be taken to protect operators, staff, and the public from Covid-19.
  • The Safe Distancing measures and other measures of hygiene including using sanitization that are used elsewhere will apply to funfairs as well; so are similar.


  1. Track and Trace / Test and Trace procedures: as of 13thMay 2021

From the DCMS Tourism Team, 4th Floor, 100 Parliament Street, London SW1A 2BQ

@dcms   /dcmsgovuk

  • “Many outdoor events are not currently included in the scope of the Collection of Contact Details Regulations, unless taking place at a venue specifically listed in the Regulations, and as such are not required to display an official NHS QR code or ask customers and visitors for their contact details. These include, for example, agricultural shows, funfairs, fetes, flower shows, literary fairs, festivals and car boot sales.” 


  • “Event organisers may still wish to support test and trace by asking visitors for their contact details and displaying an official NHS QR code, but they are not required to do so.”


  • “Any eat-in hospitality venues within these events (even if outdoors) are in scope of the Regulations and are required to request that all customers and visitors either scan the official NHS QR code or provide contact details and must refuse entry to anyone that chooses not to do so. This applies to the area of the hospitality venue only – it does not change the requirements for the wider event premises.”





By following the good practices of the way fairs should be run according to existing Guidance; we can carry out the extra safeguards in a practical way that makes everybody safe and in a way that is easy to follow.


Document ends.

Best wishes,

The Central Office Team

2nd June 2021. Fairground Industry Covid-19 Guidance for Risk Assessment updated as of 2.6.21