Spring is Coming! How to Host a Safe Live Event in 2021
COVID-19 has dominated our lives for more than a year now, but, along with warmer weather and blooming flowers, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel has appeared. Vaccinations are rolling out more quickly across the country, and people are — cautiously — starting to look at what the “new normal” will look like. One of those decisions is whether to stick with virtual events for a bit longer, or whether it’s finally safe to get together in person once more for live events.
First, we have to acknowledge that while vaccinations are helping finally get this pandemic under control, we aren’t out of the woods yet. Live events are still inherently less safe than virtual for now. The risk is lowering every day, but there is still a risk, so keep that in mind as you start to plan your spring events. Use these guidelines to help ensure that your live event is as safe as it is productive- and everyone walks away feeling energized and excited about the team, rather than fearful that they might have been exposed to COVID.
Five Steps to Take to Host a Safe Event
In addition to the guidelines, here are a few tips on how to plan a safe event that will still have all the benefits of in-person interaction, with less risk.
It is likely these are going to be something that persist for a while now, as hand washing, along with mask wearing, reduce the spread of COVID-19. Whether you plan an indoor or outdoor event, make sure you have stations posted in convenient locations throughout the space, and encourage participants to wash their hands often. Many print shops are offering custom branded hand sanitizing stations, so you can use this as an opportunity to promote the team spirit!
They are a surprisingly controversial topic, but there is no denying that masks help slow the virus down and help protect everyone. Encourage your employees to wear a mask throughout the duration of the event — consider handing out custom masks branded with your logo or with special graphics unique to the event to help foster a sense of team and community.
If you are planning to host an indoor event, make sure it is properly ventilated. Open windows, have fans around the venue, use air purifiers, etc. It’s important to keep air moving and it limits the chances of the virus settling on a surface and then being spread via touch.
4. Make good use of social distancing signage and markers.
Use tape on the floor to designate how far apart people should stand. Use poles to help gauge what six feet looks like. Make sure chairs are distanced correctly so participants don’t need to worry about counting seats. The virus can only travel so far in the air, so continuing to use strong social distancing measures will again help to mitigate the risk of hosting a live event.
Before allowing each person into the event, do a quick check to make sure they aren’t running a fever. Fever is a first indication of COVID and can happen even if someone isn’t experiencing any other symptoms. Temperature checks are a great way to add an extra layer of protection to your planning.
Show and Tell: Communicate the Rules & Enforce Them
It’s not enough just to have a safe event in today’s world — you need to let your participants know and understand the steps you’ve taken. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to get employees to buy-in to attending live events once more. At TeamBonding, here are a few things we’ve found work well:
- Announce your guidelines. Make sure everyone knows the steps you’re taking to keep them safe, and the work you’re doing behind the scenes to ensure a clean environment for them. Anxieties are still high right now, and this will go a long way toward reassuring everyone that you are putting them first. Keep attendees in the loop as plans are developed, allowing them to make suggestions, and then keep them notified as the event takes shape. And then at the event, take a few moments to make a general announcement at the start of what measures are being taken, and what each person can do to help.
- Don’t be afraid to enforce. Throughout the event, don’t be afraid to step in and enforce the rules you set out to keep everyone safe. Ask people to put their masks on, remind them to use the hand sanitizing stations or wash their hands, and separate people who are standing too close. It’s vital to not just set up safety guidelines, but to make sure everyone is living by them as well — otherwise, it’s all for nothing, and you risk your event ending with someone getting sick.
A few additional tips for hosting a safe, fun event — pandemic or not!
- Bring water! Make sure there is plenty to drink for everyone so participants are hydrated and healthy.
- Bring a speaker. You don’t want to have to shout when you need to make announcements or worry that not everyone will be able to hear them.
- Bring a tent. If you’re hosting an outdoor event, make sure there is space where your employees, organizers, and facilitators can get out of the sun for a few minutes if necessary.
- Bring enthusiasm! At the end of the day, make sure your events are fun — people are more likely to engage, more likely to learn, and more likely to make meaningful connections with their peers if they are having a good time!