Fairs planned in conference centres and exhibition halls will not be able to take place this autumn following the latest coronavirus restrictions.

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Venues had been hoping to open from October 1 but the government said that the “spread of the virus is also affecting our ability to reopen business conferences, exhibition halls and large sporting events, so we will not be able to do this from October 1”.

The new restrictions announced on September 22 by prime minister Boris Johnson also mean face coverings must be worn in shops and galleries by staff. This step has been taken in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is in place from September 24.

People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition, will continue to be exempt from these new obligations.

Auction house, antiques centres and shops and galleries do not have to implement track and trace systems.

In a clarification from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to the British Art Market Federation, DCMS stated that art market premises do not have to implement a track and trace system for visitors who come in off the street as they would be functioning as retail premises, and if they are operating an appointment based system for potential buyers then they are likely to have people's contact details anyway.

However, if they are hosting an event (eg a private viewing or a launch event for an artist's new works) then they should collect contact details for everyone who attends.  

A number of other restrictions were also announced that effect social settings. For further information visit 

There may be different rules if you live in an area under local lockdown: and you should check local lockdown rules. If you are in WalesScotland or Northern Ireland, different rules may apply.