How to organise live events in times of Covid-19
Christophe Barbé for Id International
The show must go on, right? If possible, why not? Covid-19 pandemic brought us some challenges to plan our live meetings, happening at the same time and space. But adversity can also leave room for creativity. Complying with logistics, budget and coming up with solutions has always been our job in the event industry. Now we are adding up safety healthy measures.
Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a study providing risk assessments on organising events in times of Covid-19. In this report we found useful tips such as getting updates from public health authorities, explaining extra health measures to attendees and providing protective wear, hygiene & disinfection.
We also got a lot inspiration from the study “Covid Event Protocol”, signed by Visit Flanders. For example, when organising an event in Belgium, they recommend us to have 3 golden rules in mind:
-> The maximum physical distance
-> The maximum hygiene
-> The maximum data
Would you like to get some insights too? Take a look at the updated tips we have gathered from both reports, besides our own experience so far:
1) Crowd density
Do you know how many people you can invite? In Belgium, it depends on the layout of the event. If it is being held outside (loads of fresh clean air!), or inside, where the air ventilation is enclosed. So, if your meeting is:
Indoors: 200 guests
Outdoors: 400 guests
2) Social distance
Have you forgotten about the nature of contact between participants? We haven’t. It’s one of the new protocol golden rules, remember? The minimum physical distance expected between your guests welcomed in Belgium was 1,5m.
However, both Flanders and Wallonia regions have agreed to decrease it to 1m when it comes to cultural events. This way, it opens the possibility to return to cinema sessions and musical festivals, where participants are usually seated.
Surely, if you can keep more distance, the better.
Even before Covid-19, you would think about a guest list to keep a data base to contact your guests and in order to calculate event costs. Now this is mandatory… also for healthy issues. Imagine someone who attended your event has the misfortune to get sick. He or she can let you know and you can keep all the other guests informed. Information is the basis for prevention and getting prepared.
So, design a form to register all the participants. The maximum data is a golden rule. And please, do not forget about EU GDPR compliance!
Before Covid-19 you would inform your guests on the appropriate dressing code to attend your event. Well, now we should also remind them on bringing their protective masks. They should keep their masks whilst walking around the event venue.
5) Food for thought
If you would like to have your guests tasting food and drinks, please take a sit. Forget about walking cocktails and walking dinners for the moment. The safest way to keep social distance is assuring the guests are seated to eat and planning the table (with appointed seats, enough distance between tables or splitting closer spaces with transparent screens, for example). It can be the perfect moment for decontraction, a moment they are allowed to take their masks out.
Besides thinking about sound, lights and furniture settings… let’s also design pathways to avoid crowding and prevent guests bumping into each other. Be creative, so signs can be in tune with the event decoration.
You can be simple, clean, elegant and fun. Your event can reflect that. Needless to say the venue and all its elements should be clean; your guests should have the chance to disinfect their hands on arrival and during the event whenever they want. There have been some pretty surprising solutions that came up lately:
8) Multi-day event
Specialists agree that a one-day event is the best option during this Covid period. However, a multi-day event is possible if organised for the same group of people staying the night(s) in the same event venue (such as the hotel where the conference or meeting takes place). This way the guests always limit the “contact bubble”, instead of having extra social contacts in their way home.
Feel free to contact us, if you want us to customise a plan for your event and organise it from A to Z!