Event spaces have been empty across the globe due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with delegates staying at home. But as restrictions lift, things are beginning to reopen, and event spaces are opening their doors to in-person events again. So, when you’re able, how will you host your next event safely?
To help with the planning of your next event, here’s a 20-point checklist for COVID-safe in-person events.
One of the significant factors in reducing the spread of COVID is physical distancing. In event spaces, that means considering theatre-style presentations, the use of public spaces and the stands.
1. Chair Spacing – Make sure that chairs in presentation rooms are set out two metres apart. This spacing should also be followed in break out areas and refreshment areas, where seating is provided.
2. Pre-Event Connections – mitigating any potential awkwardness as new people meet will be necessary. Therefore consider enabling connections pre-event by sharing contact details in a controlled manner. Allowing your attendees to meet ‘familiar faces’ during the live event will supporting your networking goals, which could be compounded by the fact that people will be wearing masks and social distancing.
3. Crowd Monitoring – There are always parts of an event space that are more popular and where bottlenecks occur as a result. Using technology like real-time entry and exit controls can be added to certain areas of the event space to control numbers. Simple red and green lights indicate whether an individual can enter or not. Interactive floorplans can give your audience a paperless experience, accessing directions via event apps like Grip, and give you another way to think about managing your traffic.
4. Time Slots – To manage numbers and create a quicker transition into presentation areas, time slots can be delegated. At Grip, our platform provides event organisers with the ability to pre-schedule meetings. Meetings can be pre-scheduled with the ability to assign a table and table number, enabling participants to maintain social distance.
5. Presentation Sessions – Similar to meetings, consider pre-registrations for your sessions. Locations can be allocated and confirmed to your attendees before the event, along with allowing event organisers to limit attendee numbers. Each session can have a maximum capacity, and no more people can book on to any given session that the organiser deems appropriate.
6. Sufficient Security – Technology is fabulous, but having enough people on the ground to monitor numbers at stands, for example, can help to ensure physical distancing is observed and everyone feels safe.
Cleaning and Hygiene
Regular hand washing, wearing face masks and regular thorough cleaning of surfaces is proven to reduce the risk of spreading infection. Making it easy for delegates to follow is key. As is having the trained staff available to carry out the necessary cleaning.
7. Fogging – Fog sanitisation spray cleans at the end of each day are a quick and easy way to stop 99.99% of all bacteria and viruses. The disinfectants used in fogging are entirely harmless to humans and, once dry, provide a layer of protection on surfaces.
8. Regular Cleaning – It’s essential to clean all touchpoints regularly, such as chairs after presentations, toilets and doors. This will reduce the risk of any virus spreading.
9. Face Masks – Should you make the wearing of face masks mandatory in all public spaces? It’s worth taking note of your governmental or regional recommendations as these can vary. If people are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons, they can highlight this when they register online. Their ticket will show they’re exempt from wearing a mask.
10. Hand Sanitiser – It’s important to provide hand sanitiser stations throughout the venue, with signage to encourage regular use. It’s also important that staff also have access to hand sanitiser.
11. Air Ventilation – Science has shown that introducing fresh airflow into a building can reduce the risk of transmission. Think about how ventilation can be improved–are there windows or doors that could be kept open safely?
Protect and Detect
Reducing the transmission of COVID is essential, but detecting potential cases and isolating them is even more critical. How can you protect delegates and detect potential incidents?
12. Temperature Checks – Using thermal or digital temperature checks when delegates enter the venue can spot potential COVID cases. This can be done with thermal body imaging or by handheld digital thermometers.
13. Business Cards – Usually, swapping business cards is a staple of any networking event. But encourage people not to shake hands or exchange business cards. Instead, App-based technology can provide networking opportunities. Our clients have found using our App, which allows delegates to view matchmaking recommendations or make their own connections, is a valuable alternative to the physical handshake. All connections are anonymous until a ‘Handshake’ connection is established, so networking is controlled and secure.
14. Isolating Cases – If a delegate becomes unwell, do you have somewhere attendees can go where they won’t come into contact with anyone else? Having a designated isolation room gives you peace of mind if it’s needed.
15. Track and Trace – If a confirmed case does arise, you need to make sure you have details of who attended on which days and have the delegates’ correct contact details. It’s important to talk to your event technology partner and ensure this information is captured and the data is secure but available to staff.
Keeping one step ahead is crucial for any event, but pre-event communication on some of your key logistics will inform and comfort your attendees.
16. Advanced Ticket Sales – All tickets should be purchased online in advance of the event. By avoiding tickets bought on the day or on the door, means you’ll know numbers in advance and can ensure social distancing is possible. Ensure your ticketing system integrates this data with your event platform to keep data available to your teams.
17. Badges – Instead of handing out and printing name badges as delegates arrive, consider the alternatives. Taking advantage of QR codes or asking people to print out badges and bring them with them on the day will allow staff to scan without exchanging documents. Lanyards should be provided for people to use too.
18. Travel – You can plan how things will work within the event space, but controlling how people travel to the event is more complicated. If delegates need to use public transport, you could stagger the start and finish times or avoid peak travel times. If people want to drive, make sure you have provided parking or have explained where parking can be found.
19. Food and Drinks – Food and drink outlets can often be busy. To reduce queuing, food and drinks providers should be encouraged to operate cashless payments. Plus, offering pre-packed refreshment options will reduce waiting times.
20. Communications – For any event to run smoothly, good communication is essential. But running a safe in-person event post-pandemic requires a greater focus on pre-event communication. You will need to let delegates know how to book, travel, what to expect when they’re there, and how you’ll help them comply with any restrictions. It’s also an opportunity for you to communicate the safety procedures you’re putting in place, such as trained staff and extra cleaning regimes.
Remember, don’t be afraid to over-communicate or assume that people will know what to do. Always follow the latest guidance from your local health officials around workplace safety and indoor events.
The team here at Grip can support you with your next in-person event to help keep your attendees comfortable and safe, so please get in touch and ask for advice.