The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the event industry. Public health restrictions have led to canceled weddings, concerts, vacations, festivals, and other large celebrations.
Despite the ban on gatherings, human interaction is still a vital part of human life. Event planners have found innovative yet safe ways to gather people together and share experiences in the new normal.
If you’re planning to hold an event soon, here’s how you can reduce the spread of COVID-19 among staff and attendees while ensuring everyone still has an unforgettable experience.
Determine the size and setting of the event
One of the first things you’ll have to consider is the venue of your event. Indoor events, especially those in areas with faulty ventilation, pose more risk of transmission than outdoor events. Select a venue that is spacious enough to allow physical distancing throughout the event. Consider rooftop spaces for cocktail parties or barn venues for weddings to ensure the ability to maintain physical distancing at the event.
It’s also important to consider the size of the event. The number of attendees should be determined whether people from different households can stay at least 6 feet from each other.
Maintain healthy environments
New findings from the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus, can survive on surfaces for up to 28 days. As such, event planners must develop strict disinfection protocols throughout the venue.
Clean frequently touched areas
The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces within the venue before and during the event, and as much as possible. These include sink handles, doorknobs, countertops, hand railings, cash registers, and grab bars. All shared objects must be cleaned frequently based on the level of use.
Consider closing areas such as drinking fountains that cannot be adequately cleaned during an event.
Use the right disinfectants
Choose EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 and always follow product label instructions. Ensure safe use and storage of products and keep them well out of reach and out of sight of young children. When using these products, always ensure there is adequate ventilation to prevent anyone from inhaling toxic vapors.
Make sure you and your staff use disposable gloves when taking out trash bags or handling and disposing of garbage. Discard disposable gloves immediately and wash your hands after. Never disinfect or reuse gloves.
Practice effective social distancing
Being within 6 feet of someone infected with Coronavirus for 15 minutes or more (over a 24-hour period) greatly increases the risk of transmission and requires quarantine.
- Create foot traffic flow plans to reduce bottlenecks and crowding.
- Block off seats and modify room layouts to accommodate proper distance.
- Use several single-direction exits and entrances for crowded areas where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing.
- Clearly divide walkways for bi-directional movement or if you have the space, consider making them one-way to better regulate socially distanced pedestrian movement.
- Set up partitions, sneeze guards, and physical barriers in places where it can be harder for people to remain 6 feet apart.
- Restrooms are easy breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria. Ensure social distancing rules are followed by limiting the number of people who occupy the restroom at one time. People standing in line must maintain a 6-foot or 2-meter distance from one another. Also allow one sink or one stall distance from others.
Post markers or signs in highly visible areas to remind attendees of the appropriate physical distance at all times.
Promote healthy behaviors
CDC suggests performing health checks such as symptom checking and temperature screening of all staff and attendees in compliance with any privacy laws and regulations.
Advise all staff and attendees to wear appropriate PPE equipment. Prepare some masks and hand sanitizers on-hand for staff and attendees who did not bring their own.
Masks should not be worn by babies or children younger than 2 years old. This also goes for people with breathing problems or those who are unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Advise all attendees to adhere to state, territorial, tribal, and local requirements and recommendations associated with travel. Additionally, encourage guests to opt for safer transportation options. For instance, walking, biking, or driving a car alone or with household members only reduces close contact with others.
Just because the pandemic has presented us with a unique set of challenges doesn’t mean we have to neglect our need for social interaction. By following the protocols above, people can still responsibly hold events that are both safe and memorable.