With some communities relaxing their lockdown measures, we’ve seen a slight increase in live events in a few places. In a survey conducted by PCMA, 55% of respondents who happen to be event professionals and suppliers feel small and regional events will thrive before international ones begin gathering again.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases as follows:
Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings
More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least six feet apart, wear cloth face coverings, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
Higher risk: Medium-sized, in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least six feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.
Highest risk: Large, in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least six feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.
However, 66% of planners and 60% of suppliers who participated in PCMA’s survey believe that designing live experiences in post-COVID-19 physical environments with more stringent hygiene standards will prepare them professionally for success in the business event industry.
In the hopes, we reach that phase soon, here is some etiquette we suggest event planners follow when they eventually host in-person gatherings:
Choose hybrid events and encourage staying home when appropriate
Obviously, if your employees or attendees have COVID-19, ensure they’re resting or receiving medical care. Even if they’ve had COVID-19 but have now recovered, it’s good to ask them to stay home and rest. Running a hybrid event means attendees who live far away or are sick can still get to attend the event.
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Place hygiene supplies in the event venue at the right spots
Ensure there’s enough stock of hygiene supplies like handwash, hand sanitizers, face masks, and more placed at the right locations inside the venue. Enforce a policy that employees wash hands at regular intervals and after certain activities—for instance, after handing out the tickets or when they clear the garbage.
Post signs about protective measures you’re taking and expect attendees to take—as well as tips to stop the spread—in visible locations at the venue. Make frequent announcements about maintaining proper hygiene. Run videos on TVs and other screens to remind the importance of being careful with respect to safety and hygiene.
Make it mandatory that face masks be worn by your staff at all times during the event, and strongly encourage (or require, if possible) attendees to do the same. Provide proper instructions on usage, removal of, and washing of the masks.
Maintain the venue’s hygiene
Ensure that the most-used surfaces are regularly cleaned, such as doorknobs, sink handles, hand railings, and shared spaces like registration desks, countertops, and payment terminals.
Consider putting a cap on the number of people who enter the restroom at a time. Ensure that the restrooms are functional and cleaned regularly with disinfectants. Provide handwash stations with an adequate amount of soaps or sanitizer with 60% alcohol content in them.
Keep the venue sufficiently ventilated. Increase the circulation of the outdoor air by opening up doors and windows. However, if you’re using portable ventilators like a fan, make sure you’ve reduced the speed in order to avoid any potential airborne disease spreading from one person to another.
Remodel venue layouts
Practice social distancing. Set up multiple entrances and exits in order to avoid a crowded waiting area. Avoid lines and encourage people to at least stay six feet apart. Enable online check-in in order to make the process contact-free. Designate large rooms for small events and limit the attendance so people can maintain a safe distance between each other. Use plastic screens to create a physical barrier between any booths.
Avoid shared items or reusables
Your goal should be to minimize the number of instances where people have to establish contact with anyone in the event. An open water dispenser can be hazardous now more than ever. Give out packaged water bottles or encourage attendees to get their own water bottles. Similarly, distribute individually plated and packaged meals to your attendees, arrange for takeaways or have them bring their own meals.
Ensure maximum protection for your staff
Keep an eye on the staff who have to interact the most with others. Require them to wear masks and gloves at all times. Set up a cleaning routine every now and then. Consider shifts for employees and staff to avoid crowding. It might even be advisable to set up an app for attendees to book slots in order to attend the event.
Choose private transportation
Encourage your staff and attendees to get their own vehicle and avoid shared rides completely. Configure parking spots in such a way that you can ensure a good separation between two parked vehicles.
Following proper hygiene protocols during events will help you stay safe and cope with common fears related to COVID-19. If you have any tips to maintain health and hygiene in an event that we might have missed, let us know in the comments below.
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