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Without warning in early 2020, all our lives changed thanks to COVID-19. Our personal lives underwent drastic changes with lockdowns in a number of countries. With this change, some industries have been affected negatively more than others and some are just barely hanging on in the hope that the situation will transform soon with everything going back to ‘normal’.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news or rather to be the one to provide a shot of realism but the way things have been playing out, it looks like 2021 is not going to be that year. That being said and with vaccines now in slow rollout worldwide, how can the Events industry dig itself out of this abyss and survive?
Virtual Events – until such time that the situation improves virtual events will still be the only means of connecting people. If you’re fed up with the standard 2D versions everyone has been doing, consider 3D options to create greater interaction and make it like a video game. [Check out: What is the Post Pandemic future of Events?]
Duty of Care – when we do get a chance to organize in-person events, we have to seriously consider our Duty of Care responsibilities to ensure not only health and safety but create oases of calm within the event premises so attendee stress levels remain low. Mandate health certificates for everyone so as to maximize Duty of Care responsibilities avoiding any preventable contamination and spread.
PPE & Hygiene – considering that the current vaccines do not preclude persons from getting or transmitting the disease, the use of correctly-worn face masks should still be mandatory. Hand wash and Sanitizing stations should be numerous and easily accessible. [Check out: How to get back to In-person Events Safely]
Venue – using outdoor venues seem to be the best bet for now and where possible these should be chosen as preferred. Indoor venues may be considered for very small events so the ventilation system is able to cope with being able to refresh the air well within the venue. Any seating whether outdoors or indoors should take into consideration the distancing norms. It would mean reducing attendee numbers in most cases. Nevertheless safety should be of paramount importance.
Sports Events – as most Sports events would take place outdoors, one would think they are a ‘safe’ bet. Not so, if it involves a large gathering of people with wanton disregard to wearing of masks and distancing norms, it could turn into a super spreader event rather than something related to health and wellbeing! Organizing such events is still possible however strict safety guidelines would need to be set. All attendees would have to be mandated to pre-test and strictly follow all safety guidelines. As an organizer, all participants would need to be made aware of mandatory safety protocols, sufficient marshals would need to be around to ensure compliance of all such regulations and any noncompliance would need to be dealt with without delay.
If we are to keep profit and making money above the health and safety of our attendees, partners and colleagues, we are never safely getting out of this abyss. All businesses need to make money (duh) however Duty of Care needs to be an integral part of our business.
The safer we make it for everyone, the more events we can put out there instead of heading into another upward curve of the disease or being the cause of a super spreader event.