This guest post was written by Sarah Hill of Seven Events Ltd., a leading event management companies in Birmingham offering virtual events, corporate event management and venue finding services. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to close down and restricted people inside their homes. Governments have imposed regulations regarding the maximum number of people that can meet in groups. These restrictions paved the way for online events and saw the rise of virtual event management services.
However, event planners still need to take into account some key considerations when planning and executing events. Here is a list of 5 considerations for planning events in a post-COVID world.
To control the spread of the novel coronavirus, several governments have imposed a restriction on the maximum number of people that can meet in a group. These restrictions are likely to stay in place once the curve starts to decline and COVID is not completely eliminated.
Thus, an important consideration event planning companies need to take into account are these governmental regulations. For instance, in London, the UK government has banned people meeting in a group of more than six outdoors such as in a park or other space.
While event venues are going to be subjected to massive scrutiny to show that they have excellent safety standards in place, event management companies also need to play a role in ensuring high hygienic practices for attendees.
Event planning companies need to ensure that the activities they have planned are executed hygienically and safely. For instance, basic things such as passing a mic amongst attendees need to be done safely.
The venue you pick for your event should be one that follows safety protocols very strictly. Even though all venues claim to do this, you can easily differentiate between the ones that are committed and the ones that aren’t. You could ask questions about their cleaning routines such as how frequently they clean, which spots do they clean, and the number of people they have designated for cleaning duties. Make sure to check if the venue is missing out cleaning any apparent hot spots.
For the event, you should keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer at all entry points and other key spots. Encourage all attendees, volunteers, and staff members to apply it when they enter and after every half hour or so. You also need to ensure that all the people at your event are wearing a mask. Keep a box of masks handy to provide one to those who don’t have it.
Social distancing is one of the most effective ways of limiting the spread of the virus. The more distance between attendees, the lower the chances of the virus spreading. If one person at your event tests positive for COVID, the probability of them transmitting the virus to other people will be minimized if there are proper social distancing measures.
Good social practices encourage people to:
⦁ Keep 1.5 meter or 5 feet distance between people who don’t belong to the same household, and
⦁ Keep a minimum of 2 square meters (21.5 square feet) distance per person.
Thus, you need to ensure that your event follows the appropriate social distancing protocols. While it’s easy to claim that your event practices social distancing, it’s actually quite difficult to implement them. For effective social distancing, you need to think about people flow (not just attendees but other people as well such as staff members) and their behavior.
One potential place where people could gather include the restrooms, so you need to have a proper system there. For instance, you could have one person out, one person in type of system.
Remember to also think of how people can move through narrow walkways and corridors without violating the social distancing protocols.
Also, think about other traffic points such as registration counters and how you can effectively manage them. One way to limit congestion could be to use self-service check-in kiosks that limit queues and interaction between people.
Lastly, make sure to check your social distancing measures before the final event takes place. Doing this will allow you to make any necessary adjustments that you might have initially missed out on.
Appropriate risk communication plays a vital role in the management and execution of successful events. In fact, doing this will also help to restore the community’s confidence in participating in events once the restrictions are lifted.
You need to consider the following things:
⦁ Develop a strong relationship with the media to help in communication efforts associated with
⦁ Actions taken to maintain the spread of COVID-19 and safety protocols followed during the event and,
⦁ Local risk assessment.
⦁ Establish a single point of communication. Public confidence will increase if messaging and communication continues to be reassuring and consistent.
⦁ Encourage attendees and staff members to download and use apps such as ⦁ COVIDSafe to trace contacts.
⦁ Boost public health messaging before the events to remind people to
⦁ Stay home if they aren’t feeling well or have recently been in contact with a person tested positive for COVID-19.
⦁ Follow proper hand washing and social distancing guidelines.
⦁ Seek immediate help if they feel any symptoms developing during the event.
In a post-COVID world, event managing companies need to leverage technology to minimize contact between guests and security and move towards eliminating heavy traffic areas. Critical success factors include:
⦁ Lower waiting times
⦁ Less queuing and lining
⦁ Socially distanced queueing
⦁ Passive scanning
⦁ Reduced human interaction
Make sure to follow the appropriate guidelines when conducting any event in a post-COVID world.
In case an attendee or staff member gets sick at your events, separate them from others immediately and ask them to go home. While they’re still at the venue, provide them with a clean disposable face mask to wear. However, if that’s not available, provide them with a face-covering cloth to cover their sneezes and coughs.
If needed, get in touch with an emergency service provider for those that require emergency medical care.