How Companies Can Make In-Person Events as Safe as Possible
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the events industry — both in the way events are held and the expectations of attendees in our post-Covid world. While health and safety have always been important considerations when planning an in-person event, the significance of keeping attendees safe has grown substantially and the right planning decisions can now play a key role in event success.
In this article, we will explore the impact of the pandemic on events, examine some of the key trends related to event safety, cover the logistics and considerations for various audiences, and ultimately explain how companies can make their events as safe and comfortable as possible for attendees while meeting legal obligations.
The Impact of Covid-19 on Events
The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on many industries, but the live event industry was hit especially hard by restrictions on travel and mass gatherings, especially during 2020.
While vaccinations and other safety considerations have since helped to ease the need for such restrictions, the emergence of the Delta variant and others could pose significant ramifications and concerns among event-goers.
Although the health and safety of an event have always been crucial, the pandemic has dramatically increased the importance of not only taking the right steps but transparency around the specific guidelines followed. In a post-Covid landscape, factors like safety and hygiene can now be key to whether people feel comfortable attending.
As the event industry shifts away from the necessary virtual and hybrid meeting solutions that helped to sustain it during the peak of the outbreak, companies must make adjustments to prioritize in-person safety.
Important Steps for Event Safety
There are several steps that need to be taken when it comes to organizing a safe in-person gathering, and making the right decisions is important to the event’s success. This is why it is best to work with an established event management company with a proven track record of success in the Covid era.
Nevertheless, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the latest guidance for large gatherings, as published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
You should try to promote healthy behaviors — such as hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, and the wearing of masks — and take into account specific risk factors linked to your event.
As an example, you should be aware of the number of Covid-19 cases in the local area and consider factors like the size of the event, whether it is indoors or outdoors, whether you can accommodate physical distancing, and whether ventilation can be improved through opening windows and other similar methods.
You will also need to be aware of local laws, such as whether mask-wearing is mandatory for indoor events, whether there are restrictions on the number of people who can gather indoors, and whether social distancing is required.
Keep in mind that some venues have their own specific rules, so factor those requirements into your planning process too.
Moreover, you should decide on whether the event is exclusively in-person, or if a virtual component may also be offered. If you do adopt this approach, you may need to collaborate with a virtual event company.
The Logistics of Hosting a Safe Event
There are many logistical elements and moving parts that you will need to consider when organizing an event. For instance, you will need to plan out the activities that will take place at the event and then determine what you’ll need to ensure it’s planned safely.
Where can we provide easy access to hand gel and other health and safety supplies? Should we arrange the activity to ensure attendees are comfortable? Should masks be required? What about vaccine mandates and on-site testing?
You will need to provide soap, water, and other hygiene equipment for staff and attendees as well as scheduling regular cleaning routines for common event areas. Shared surfaces should be wiped down or disinfected regularly, some equipment may not be able to be shared, and other cleaning rituals could prove useful.
As the Event Manager blog explains, personal protective equipment (PPE) could be required, and you may need to avoid self-service when it comes to food. It is also important to communicate with speakers at your event and gain a sense of their comfort levels.
There may be advantages to using certain hybrid meeting solutions so that speakers who cannot be physically present can still contribute to the event from afar.
Take advantage of the free templates and event planning tools available online to assist with the planning process.
The Last Word
The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the events industry and how it hosts gatherings for the foreseeable future. Any in-person or virtual event company that fails to adapt to these changes risks extinction.
In a post-Covid world, hygiene and safety are more important than ever, and this means following laws and guidelines, collaborating with speakers and staff to accommodate their needs, and working through each element of your event to ensure all the safety boxes have been checked.
Once the necessary steps have been taken, however, in-person events can be completely safe, allowing businesses to once again reap the rewards that only face-to-face meetings can provide.
These benefits include direct income from ticket sales, improved brand awareness, increased product sales, and becoming known as a thought leader within your particular industry.