Covid-19 risk factors to consider as larger events open back up

austin-neill-hgO1wFPXl3I-unsplash.jpg

There’s no denying there’s a palpable feeling of excitement in the air as we see events opening up across the USA, UK, and other parts of the world. After months of lockdown, postponements and cancellations, event organisers and attendees alike are counting down the seconds until they can enjoy the larger gatherings they once took for granted. But, of course, the events industry is reopening its doors with caution – no one wants to be the one contributing to a serious new wave of the virus. 

With this in mind, we’ve popped together a list of the latest risk factors to be aware of if you’re moving into larger-event territory soon. 

A quick note on capacity and government laws

When we refer to capacity in this article, we’re always doing so with the assumption that event planners are sticking to their local government rules around this. 

It’s also essential to recognise that different countries, states and locations are subject to different Covid-19 restrictions right now. This article is to be read in line with whatever your current government’s laws are currently.

Let’s take a look.

Covid-19 risk factors: Questions to ask when organising an event

maxime-bhm-9ZnGWdsqNZ4-unsplash.jpg

What is the Number of Covid cases in your area? 

It’s crucial to pay close attention to the Covid new case rates not only in the area where your event’s being held, but areas where you expect a lot of people travelling from. Understanding these will help you get a much better feel for the risk level of your event. In turn, this should determine how many precautions you take and what kind – for example, if numbers are on the rise, you might consider reducing the capacity of your event. 

How ventilated is your event venue? 

If your event is fully or partly in an indoor venue/s, it’s important to make sure there’s adequate ventilation. If there aren’t enough ways to ensure good ventilation as you’d like, you might want to consider changing venues, or reducing capacity. 

Is it possible to use allocated seating?

You might not normally go for the allocated seating route, but this can be a really good way to help keep things more organised and ultimately safer at both indoor and outdoor seated events. 

What is the behaviour of people likely to be at your event?

Will they be shouting and singing? If so, it’s crucial to recognise that this increases the risk of Covid transmission. You may want to mitigate this by being more stringent with social distancing, pre-event testing, and disinfectant clean-downs. The same goes if it’s likely lots of people from different households will be mixing at your event.

What’s the duration of your event going to be?

Covid risk factors increase the longer gatherings go on for, so if your event is set to take place over a full day or more, you might want to take extra safety measures to account for this. It’s a given, for example, that larger-scale and longer events should have plenty of clear signage showing attendees how to access hand-washing sites and sanitizing stations. And it can also be helpful to implement one-way systems to reduce crowding.

How far will people be travelling from?

If your people are going to be travelling to your event from far and wide, it’ll be extra-important to keep an eye on Covid rates outside of just your own local region. 

Do you have the digital tools you need to keep your event safe?

Does your ticket registration platform give you the option to easily manage capacity? Does it allow you to scan tickets from a distance, and offer a reserved seating function? These are all things to think about if you want to make sure your Covid-secure event is as safe and streamlined as possible. (Head here to see how Ticket Tailor is supporting Covid-secure events).

Have you thoroughly thought out how to keep restrooms safe?

Alongside regular sanitizing, it’s also going to be important to make sure you have a system in place that prevents overcrowding in restrooms. It’ll be key to ensure supplies for handwashing don’t run out too – including water and soap or hand sanitizer (above 60% alcohol level), and paper towels/tissues for hand-drying. 

Could your event work as a hybrid?

If certain risk-factors are looking pretty high for your event, it might be time to consider going hybrid. This will allow you to significantly reduce the capacity and duration of the in-person elements of your event. 

Do your staff feel able to take sick leave if they need to?

It’s vital that event staff feel comfortable taking time off if they’re either sick or have come into contact with someone with Covid-19. Make sure you have a flexible sick leave policy in place, as well backup staff to fall back on to account for this.

Do you have a postponement or cancellation plan in place?

No one wants to have to think about cancelling their event, but it’s a possibility all planners have to consider if they want to keep things safe. If the Covid numbers unexpectedly rise in your area, you’ll need to know you’ve got a proper event postponement or cancellation plan in place so you don’t end up taking unnecessary risks. On this note, you might find our guide to event insurance useful.

While the above covers some of the essential things to consider when opening the doors to events again – always remember to check government guidance in your local area.

By staying cautious and sticking to the rules set out by experts, we’ll be much more likely to see the events industry get back on its feet at last.