How to plan a Covid-secure event
Like everyone in the events world, we are very disappointed that conferences and exhibitions will not be allowed to run from 1 October as hoped*.
However, smaller business and training events for up to 30 people (including venue and organiser staff) in Covid-secure venues can still go ahead.
A risk assessment must be carried out, the venue has to demonstrate it has followed Covid-19 guidance and have track-and-trace measures in place.
With lots of new rules to deal with, it’s a good idea to get ahead and start planning events sooner rather than later – not forgetting a robust back-up plan should regulations change.
Find venues now
Also, venues will also be in high demand – particularly in six months’ time when large events will hopefully be able to begin again.
So it’s advisable to find the perfect location for your event now, a task our venue finding service can help you with.
Of course, we’d love to give you comprehensive, step-by-step instructions explaining how to run a Covid-secure event.
But as the situation is subject to change – and rules vary depending on where in the UK the event is to be held – the most important advice we can provide is to ensure you keep a very close eye on the relevant government’s latest guidance.
Clearly we need to be flexible when planning events for coming months – and have back-up plans in place should the regulations change,” says Alex Palmer, Kina Events founder.
“For this reason hybrid events are a good way to go, making sure you have the option to switch to fully online if you need to – that way the event can still take place and, with some great content and speakers, you can achieve your business objectives.”
If you’re organising an event for up to 30 people in England, don’t forget that social interactions are limited to groups of six, and outside of these groups, social distancing must be maintained*.
Alex says: “The ‘rule of six’ and social distancing measures definitely make things harder. However, if you’re creative but realistic, it’s still possible to make business events work – just don’t make them bigger or more complicated than they need to be.”
The current English government guidance* also recommends the following measures to allow for safe resumption of business events:
- Attendees will need to pre-book and pre-register to attend events
- Contactless registration systems at venues will be introduced at venues to reduce waiting times and limit contact between organisers and guests
- A digital-first approach will be adopted to eliminate the need for physical badges and lanyards
- Paper handouts and gifts will no longer be offered
- Entrance to event spaces will be staggered to reduce queuing and overall capacity will be limited to ensure social distancing can be maintained
- Events will be planned around one-way systems for visitors
- All venues will have enhanced cleaning procedures, with hand washing and sanitising facilities at frequent intervals.
Make sure you follow the latest, full relevant government guidance very carefully when organising your event.
Follow industry guidelines
The Meetings Industry Association (mia) guidelines specifically for meeting venues are very helpful. Venues that meet all of the mia criteria can receive an accreditation, something we recommend you look for when booking.
Other good sources of guidance are the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Association of Event Venues (AEV) and the Association of Event Organisers (AEO). Outdoor events are covered by events guidance drafted by the Events Industry Forum.
If needed, you can also refer to the relevant government’s guidance on pubs and restaurants and the UKHospitality guidance for catering.
“Follow all the guidance and tell people you’re doing so – consumer confidence is everything,” Alex says.
“You must ensure your attendees know you will look after them and keep them safe. So take every safety precaution you can and let people know what you’re doing before, during and after the event.”
* Please note, this post is based on regulations in England only and is up to date as of 23 September 2020. Different regulations will apply elsewhere, and the situation may have changed since the time of writing. We are not lawyers, and this is not legal advice – you should speak to a lawyer before organising an event.
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