Safety Measures for Meetings and Events

COVID19 has required significant adjustments and potentially changed the event planning industry for the far-reaching future.

If you are used to planning or hosting in-person meetings or events, the thought of beginning to reopen can be a little daunting. There are new protocols, considerations and regulations related to health and safety, arrangements for social distancing and how to handle food/beverage safely.

It can all be so overwhelming, and the fear underlying all of it is:

“How can the event industry ever recover and pivot with all of these factors to consider???”

Starting with one aspect at a time is my best advice for slowly beginning a new framework that includes the necessary precautions during the event industry’s slow recovery.

Start with the Venue

Social distancing is the critical element to be implemented at every property. We used to love to pack in as many people as possible! It was a sign of a successful event to have mass gatherings, but the thought of that is scary now instead of exciting. Things are far more complex and challenging. If you can assuredly provide social distancing at your venue, you will instantly create a level of safety and enhanced security for participants. Room and seat configuration will have to notably include careful, measured planning, which can be done accurately with digital diagramming.

Considering how Plexiglass can be used at your venue as they have done in grocery stores will be a popular post-pandemic reality. Reminders through signage are always practical ways to mark line ups, directions and distance measures.

Event apps are being developed to help manage social distancing, that will allow wearable devices to warn if proximity is being compromised. Purifiers on-site and thermal scanning of all participants as they enter your venue will become the norm. These forward-thinking tools will enforce distancing and safely help create solutions to promote events in the future.

Overdose on Sanitization

Before your event, create explicit policies to plan how compromised safety will be handled. What if someone does have a fever? What if someone contracts the virus while at the hotel conference? These answers and protocols must be applicable and followed. All attendees must agree to these COVID procedures before as part of their registration and entry.

Cleaning and sanitization has never been so critical. Disinfecting common and high-traffic areas, and providing proof of that will go a long way to showcase a demonstrated commitment to community safety. Sanitization stations in frequently used spaces, and wiped areas are necessary steps in future phases of recovery of events. Establishing Mandatory PPE regulations as well as providing masks, will identify responsible and safe practices.

Adjust to the impact on Food and Beverage Services

Everyone loves food and drinks at an event! Sadly, Food and Beverage at events have had some significant impacts, and the costs continue to escalate for their industry due to COVID19. With all the sanitization and food handling mandated measures, it is challenging for them to provide profitable options at events. Self-service buffets won’t be a practical option for a while, but seated dining and boxed pre-packed meals can work as alternatives with careful planning.

Finding creative ways to serve foods without multiple hands touching the food, and individual portions boxed, and personal water bottles and utensils are critical parts of providing food. Whenever possible, seasonally dependent, allow an open-air environment for people to space out and eat.

There are many mandatory new guidelines for the food and beverage providers, applicable to foods on display, restricting numbers of people in a kitchen, ventilation for airflow in a hot kitchen area, and limiting the number of people handling food.

Having a safe meeting or event as we gradually recover will help if we go slow and steady to creating meaningful events with an umbrella of security and safety.

Curious about how to get started planning your post-pandemic event? Let’s connect. We can help!

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by Paul Richards

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