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 In DeSouza Associates

Keeping delegates safe has always been a key priority for event planners. However, now more than ever, with COVID-19 having a severe impact on the events industry, strict implementation of new and additional safety guidelines are paramount and must be adhered to and updated on a regular basis in line with ever changing ‘Tier’ rules.

This is a challenging time for the events industry and by keeping everyone well informed and up-to-date with all the changing government guidelines, event planners can have the confidence the hospitality and events sector will be able to deliver. We work closely alongside venues and event organisers to ensure we are on top of all the changes and keep an eye on the fast-moving situation as it is developing.

With the vaccination process in full swing, perhaps you’ve been asked to book an event for later in 2021 or 2022 and beyond?

We all want to kick-start our events timetable as soon as possible but need to understand that these have to be done safely and in a responsible manner.

Organising your first ‘live’ event, after so many months, may be met with some apprehension and a little uncertainty. Whilst there are no definitive answers as to how events will proceed, having a future-proof plan devised and ready to implement when necessary will ensure a successful and COVID-19 secure event for everyone involved.

Here are our thoughts on the things you need to consider to ensure you have a COVID-19 secure event for both the organisers and the audience and adheres to all the relevant restrictions in place.

Venue Compliance

The first steps would be to research suitable venues that have policies in place to safely deliver an event, no matter what the requirements for this are. Key factors for an event planner would be to consider delegate numbers on site, event space and rooms required, specific access needs etc

Venues should have in place, as a minimum, the following:

  •  Social distancing measures, for example tape on the floor to guide people safely around the venue, creating wider aisles and one-way systems where possible, reducing seating capacities within meeting rooms etc.
  • Sanitisation facilities in all public areas. Providing hand sanitiser stations throughout the venue to ensure guests use these before opening doors, handling equipment and using the facilities.
  • Appropriate signage to be visible throughout a venue, and lots of it, to remind guests and event attendees of social distancing measures, masks to be worn in all indoor public areas etc.

A venue should also be implementing increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures for all of their public areas, bedrooms and meeting spaces. A good, workable ventilation system at a venue will also help with airflow.

Additional policies could include card-only payment options for everything whilst on site, guest temperature checks on arrival, sealed meeting and guest rooms once cleaning has been completed and before a new occupant enters the room or self-service registration desks to help limit the face-to-face contact.

Covid-19 secure event corridor

Risk Assessments to be put in place

An important pre-planning tool would be for a risk assessment to be carried out at the first possible instance, the earlier the better, to give yourself ample time to address any issues or potential problems that could arise pre, during and after any event. It is crucial to attempt to pre-empt and think of every possible scenario that could happen and have practices put in place to control these.

  • Key points to consider are the risks to staff and delegates attending on site, and how these can be limited to ensure the safety of everyone.
  • A personal health assessment check would be good to ensure both organisers and delegates, are fit to attend.
  • A reminder to all delegates if they are not well and showing any symptoms of the virus, they should stay at home or seek medical advice if needed.
  • Knowing how people are travelling to and from a venue, for example will they need to use public transport, may determine where and if an event should take place.
  • Providing comprehensive joining instructions to delegates prior to the event explaining what guests will expect on the day and what they can do beforehand and during the event to ensure the safety of others and themselves.

Any event planner will already have risk assessment forms in place however these need to be analysed and updated to include all aspects relating to COVID-19.

Food and Drink

The day of the buffet is probably long-gone, for a while at least, so venues are having to create innovative and new menus that will encourage and entice event organisers to come back to live events. Fortunately, there seems to be a lot more care and thought taken by venues currently into their food offerings and making them safe but still exciting.
Many venues are offering grab-and-go food options for meetings such as bento boxes, individual packed lunches and if required plated meals. These types of menus are likely to stick with us for some time and continue even after things get back to some normality. They offer a quick, affordable and practical food choice for all events.
The communal, tea and coffee station will also be the thing of the past, being replaced by pre-made drinks and takeaway options.

Bento box for meetings and events lunch

Emergency Back up plan

Although one can try to plan for all eventualities, in some cases a live event may just not be feasible.
Dealing with suspected COVID-19 cases within the event planning team or delegates who are attending means that event numbers will fluctuate and have to be accounted for. Having protocols on how to deal with this is a must and knowing that the venue has procedures in place to reduce risks will add a high level of comfort for your event.
Going hybrid or virtual may be the back-up plan so knowing what your chosen venue and preferred AV supplier can offer on site, will minimise your risk.

Until we know for sure how events will re-emerge from the present global situation, it is extremely difficult to make plans with any degree of certainty. However, if this pandemic has reinforced anything, it is clear that people are craving to have human interaction again and live events will inevitably return, albeit a bit differently.

It is key that we are prepared and ready to get going again but in a safe and COVID-19 secure event environment.

Get in touch with DeSouza Associates today and book your COVID-19 secure event with confidence

We understand that planning a COVID-19 secure event for 2021 and the foreseeable future can feel daunting during these uncertain times.

Let our friendly team help to clear away any worries you may have and guide you in the right direction.

Tel: 01252 722185

Email: events@desouza-associates.com 

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