What Covid-19 has Done to Large Event Planning

In the world today, Covid-19, or the coronavirus, has had major implications for large scale events. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States, many large events have been rescheduled for later in the year, hoping things would get better. Some events were outright cancelled because of the uncertainty. And who could blame them?

In this article, we wanted to take a look at what the events industry could possibly look like, while taking some appropriate safety precautions for guests.

Social Distancing and a Lot of Hand Sanitizer

In this scenario of possibilities, Covid-19 preparedness is perhaps minimal, but still recommended. All of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended steps should be taken, even at outdoor events.

Event planners would need to plan to have the ability for people to stay 6 feet away from non-family members, and clean their hands easily and often.

Hand sanitizer stations placed strategically around the event space (at least 6 feet away from any other common use items) would help people keep their hands clean as needed. By keeping small tables at 6 feet increments away from each other, limited numbers of guests will also be able to sit down, without sacrificing their personal safe space.

Event organizers might also consider having handwashing stations with running water and soap dispensers available for their guests, as the CDC recommends hand washing with soap and water. Even better, organizers could offer touch free soap dispensers to help eliminate the spread of germs.

Masks may be optional during this time. However, by allowing the people that feel the need to use their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to participate in your event while feeling safe and comfortable, event planners could create an inviting atmosphere to everyone.

In this kind of situation, the key to keeping everyone safe and healthy will be to provide the opportunities they will need to keep clean and stay safely away from others so germs can’t spread easily.

Directing Traffic Flow at the Event

In this scenario, large events are still allowed, but event organizers would need to be sure that people stayed at a 6 foot distance from others, wear masks, and had plenty of opportunities to wash their hands.

As in our first scenario, there would need to be plenty of hand sanitizer or hand washing stations placed around the event, and consistent sanitizing of equipment, bathrooms, or other common use items is highly recommended.

Event organizers may want to provide masks and gloves for guests to use during the event, to be sure everyone has access to them. There may also be a need for extra security in order to enforce the safety rules while your event is open.

The use of temporary special event fencing can help direct traffic during outdoor events or at expo-type events. They can also keep people at a distance when needed, giving organizers and planners another opportunity to add signs for reminders and cautionary information.

While it doesn’t sound very eco-friendly, not providing reusable water stations or water fountains, will prevent guests from accidentally spreading germs through a common water spigot on a water cooler or other dispenser. 

Event hosts may also consider providing extra precautionary items to their guests such as pre-bagged masks, gloves, and personal hand sanitizer. Organizers may need to check temperatures at the entrances to be sure no one sick can enter your location. 

Being sure to add trash bins at the exits of your location to discard masks and gloves will help keep the spread of germs down further. This way no one will have to worry about hanging on to the items when they leave and will be less likely to leave them on the ground, further exposing other guests or your team to possible contamination.

Temperatures of all of your team members may also be required. Making sure they all understand proper protocols for when someone presents with a temperature, refuses to wear their PPE, or other scenarios that could potentially cause an issue would also be important.

The number of guests at your event may need to be closely monitored to be sure there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy themselves while also being distant and safe. Because of this, counters may need to stay at entrances and exits with clear communication abilities (such as walkie-talkies), especially in large locations.

Depending on what you are planning for, such as corporate events and trade shows, these events may also offer a virtual experience and/or eliminate the in-person events altogether. During the last few months, there are many event and meeting planners that have been using webinars and web meetings to continue conducting their events.

Using social media, you can promote your virtual event, provide great customer service, and still throw a really solid, successful event. Just be sure to have some extra audio visual help on-hand in case something unexpected happens during any of the scheduled presentations.

After Covid-19 Event Planning; What Could Happen

So what about after the Covid-19 finally loosens its hold on the United States? What will event planning look like then? We thought we would make a few predictions. Of course, everyone is learning as we go through this pandemic. 

Something new could be innovated between now and then, but here are a few of our ideas of what event organizing may looks like “after Covid-19”:

  • Masks Optional. Other countries, particularly Asia, consider it a common courtesy when people that feel less than their best wear a mask to protect others from getting sick. We may see more people adopt this practice in the U.S. after Covid-19 and event planners may want to have boxes available for their guests.
  • More Hand Sanitizer Available. Since a lot of people may actually enjoy being able to clean their hands in public settings, especially after covid, events may start providing hand sanitizer at all events.
  • Better Disease Control and Prevention. After being diligent about public health by sanitizing and wiping down tables, chairs, pens, and more, organizers may continue keeping things extra clean at their events to help keep people healthy. This is especially possible since the World Health Organization says covid-19 may never go away.
  • Temperature Checks. Since Covid-19 (or its variants) may never go away, and people can be asymptomatic, temperature checks may stick around, to be sure people aren’t accidentally spreading sickness at special events.

And those are a few of our predictions for how successful event planning might look in the future. Of course, no one knows the future. We are just making some guesses based on what things have looked like so far and how some of the events we’ve been a part of have worked out in the past, before Covid-19.

We hope everyone stays safe and healthy. We’ll be around to help you keep your events running smooth and safely.

Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

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