How to Keep Event Staff & Attendees Safe During COVID-19

Team GTRTeam GTR October 14, 2020

Safety and security have always been at the top of the list for event planners. With people slowly coming back to events under a new reality, event planners and venues are even more focused on safety as they design plans to protect staff and attendees.

What do you need to consider as you add COVID-19 to your existing event checklists to include hygiene, food safety, security, crowd control, and other factors?

You should begin with a risk assessment. With COVID-19, you need to collaborate with local authorities and public health officials on an on-going basis. Understanding and continuously evaluating risk will allow you to decide whether to modify or postpone an event; adapt or change the venue space; develop and communicate the best protocols; and use flexible technology to minimize risk.

We suggest that once you assess risk, you put in place what we call “The P Equation.” It’s a comprehensive plan encompassing all safety-related activities before, during, and after an event.

Protection = Planning.

Here are some of the elements that should be part of your overall Event Safety and Health Plan:

  1. Staff/Attendee Protocols

    Determine event capacity to allow for enforcement of all safety protocols including social and spatial distancing. Understand factors like ventilation, room flow, and presence of filtration. Map out all spaces where social distancing is challenging such as bathrooms and modify the space.

  2. Venue Protocols

    Be clear about requiring staff and event-goers to stay home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, referring to the CDC website for the most up-to-date information. Additionally, require attendees to stay home if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had direct contact with an individual diagnosed with or suspected to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Implement refund policies that encourage people to comply with these rules.

  3. Registration Protocols

    Register attendees without spreading germs. Keep your attendees safe by providing a touchless registration experience. Limit the amount of time attendees are gathered and keep the traffic flowing smoothly during event check-in and badge pickup. During badge pickup, be proactive by incorporating thermal scanning to detect elevated body temperatures. Monitoring this common symptom of COVID will be a good use of time while the attendee’s badge is printing.

  4. Communications Protocols

    Provide detailed instructions and signage before, during and after the event for staff, attendees, and sponsors. Create instructions and signage outlining face covering and physical distancing requirements. Make sure your communication is clear and specific to the event; addresses cultural, language and disability barriers; and provides contact information for people who can reached for questions.

  5. Cleaning Protocols

    Regularly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, toilets, taps, sinks, and more before, during and after the event using CDC cleaning and disinfecting guidelines. Don’t be shy about placing sanitizer stations throughout the registration hall. Provide easy access by placing them near high traffic areas to help attendees find sanitizer when they need it.

  6. Medical Response Protocols

    Create event-specific protocols that assigns roles to staff members, highlights local emergency services information, determines transportation, and allows for quick and safe evacuation. Have a first-aid station for minor injuries or sick attendees.

  7. Add a Virtual Component

    Our prediction for 2021? The boom of Hybrid Events (events where attendees can join in-person or virtually and get the same event experience). Adding a virtual safety net for your event will not only help you sleep more soundly, but will improve accessibility for all. With digital tools like live meetups, virtual trade-shows, and customizable agendas, attendees can have more choices without losing out on event quality.

At GTR, we believe applying that keeping staff and employees safe and secure is the number one priority of event planning. We’d like to help you.

Regards, Team GTR™ 👋

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