Every event professional (and many others) wants to know how the Event Industry will look like after quarantine restrictions are lifted. We discover some possible Post-coronavirus settings.
How do Events look like after Covid-19?
Use this Free Risk Assessment Template to Identify and Reduce COVID-19 Associated Risks at your Next Event
One of the most challenged industries remains the event industry. There is still doubt in the destiny of gatherings and events.
The weight is massive, and unfortunately, events are one of the proven environments for the diffusion of the disease.
Microsoft declared it cancelled all events until July 2021. Facebook adopted the same plan by suspending all conferences above 50 participants until June 2021.
The actual coronavirus improvement line appears static for the next upcoming months.
Is that going to happen?
Not really. Some events will still be going ahead this summer and autumn. The below analysis is a
Not really. Some meetings will indeed happen over summer and into fall. The following analysis is an evaluation:
How Events Will Look Like
One of the most critical circumstances to consider is the ‘phase stage’ that every country is adopting during the epidemic.
Every phase is the approach a specific country will take to deal with the virus once the contamination curve starts to go down. This means fewer COVID-19 patients in hospitals and fewer cases in general.
Impatience could cause a reversion to ‘phase 1’ of the epidemic. At the same time, keeping economies stuck for too long is not ideal. This is a delicate step for any country.
Although the UK didn’t announce future guidelines, we can have a look at what the US declared, with the steps the country will take post-lockdown. All instructions will take place for any business recovery, which makes sense for events too:
– Social distancing, gloves and masks
– Temperature checks and other tests
– Isolation and contact tracing
– High sanitation and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
– Monitor of symptomatic workforce
These guidelines make the US event industry very complex and challenging to manage.
- Banning gatherings larger than ten
- Reducing unnecessary travel
- Shutting communal spaces (for employers)
If any US state demonstrates a successful phase one, it may enter phase two. In that scenario, events will:
– Avoid meetings more significant than 50 people
– Keep social distancing
– Non-essential travel can be return
– Large venues can adopt moderate distancing guidelines
Phase three additionally loosens policies for large sites but does not support crowds. This suggests that even into the US phase three, big crowd congregations still won’t probably take place.
There must be no reappearance of the virus during phase two, which also means a successful step one.
Even in this case, only a certain amount of events will take place.
What kind of events is likely to take place during a ‘phase 2’?
More significant events will suffer more than smaller meetings. This will probably be the case throughout 2020 and 2021.
Until June 2021, Facebook already cancelled all events of more than 50 people, following the US guidelines.
The future of events is small, less than 50 people probably. Anything more than that is too risky and challenging to plan.
Even if the US released its guidelines already, it is still unclear how venues like cinemas will behave with social distancing, for example.
Virtual Meetings will still predominate, as the risk for attendees will be too high for non-essential travel.
International travel will be challenging for a more extended period too since it is unlikely for attendees to travel to an event with the risk of 14 days of self-quarantine just for a one or two-day occasion.
Hence, meetings will happen in person when there is an excellent purpose for them to occur. Most of them will be domestic and virtual options will always be in place until a development, such as a vaccine, cure or herd immunity will appear.
How will Events Look?
Every event professional is thinking about this question: how will events look?
There are several aspects to take into consideration. We tried to summarise the most important ones in 4 categories:
It is clear companies will expose themselves when attending events. Therefore, it will be essential to take into consideration some of these insurance coverage terms:
- Force Majeure paragraphs and exposure to annulment or additional rescheduling
- Coverage for visitors that may catch the disease at the event
- Coverage for staff that may catch the disease at the event
- Exposure to weaker people
We recommend you check the Events Industry Council video on the matter.
There is no question ‘moderate social distancing’ will be at the top of challenges for event professionals.
At the moment, a clear explanation of ‘moderate social distancing’ has not been given anywhere yet. Consequently, we can only hypothesise how events will look like in the future.
The GOV.UK guidelines on social distancing presently want you to:
– Avoid non-essential travel when possible, especially if involving public transport.
– Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, considering that all kind of pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread quickly in closed areas where people gather together.
It is quite apparent why events are currently impossible to happen for everyone’s safety.
In addition to this, once the government will release more precise guidelines, you surely want to think about how to approach the following essential parts of your event:
- Registration. You should keep attendees at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from each other when queuing. Supermarkets are currently improving that and may give you some ideas.
- Signage. Actual signage representing the correct distance needs to be put in place at registration desks and main footpaths, including F&B areas and other common areas.
- Room arrangement. The layout has to be rearranged to keep the social distancing of 2 metres in place, making it easy for attendees to access their seats in an organised way to keep the right distance.
- Self-serving buffets. Self-service buffets are not a good idea anytime soon. Seated dining will be the right alternative, always keeping in mind the 2 metres of distancing for attendees. Staff will wear face masks and gloves, and hand sanitisers should be made available in F&B areas among other areas. This may increase F&B costs, however event venues themselves may offer lower-cost F&B at this point.
- Travel. If travel is part of event planning, always keep in mind those 2 metres when delegates are travelling on buses, cabs and so on when moving them around.
- Socialisation. Handshakes, business card exchanging are obvious don’ts.
One tendency that will help events to be back will be venues with meticulous attention to social distancing guidelines. It is indeed a pivotal factor to transmit more security and therefore, fewer insurance risks for you to take. This also involves public transport and AV Supply.
It is likely for venues to be prepared for thermal scanning. Choosing a site that is not following any thermal check may add extra costs for you to organise it independently.
However, thermal cameras don’t seem so reliable, considering ‘the technology doesn’t register absolute temperature, just differences in temperature relative to the background’.
In that case, once again, event organisers surely do not want to be considered liable for spreading the virus.
No matter the efficacy of thermal checks, this will be considered a requirement for anyone attending events, and consequently a must for any post-coronavirus event.
Hygiene and Sterilisation
This is another vital point for event venues when we will finally approach phase two.
Besides, clear communication to participants and staff will be fundamental:
- Hand washing. Visual instructions must be placed at the venue, teaching how to wash your hands efficiently. This must be implemented with pre-event messages, signage around the event spaces and any event apps.
- Hand sanitisers, everything made as much touchless as possible, by the venue or the organisers. This is an excellent opportunity for branding and sponsorships as a gadget in your goodie bags.
- Personal protection equipment (PPE).Providing face masks for staff and attendees will be crucial and either making sure they bring their own from home and know how to wear them correctly.
- Common rooms hygiene. Regularity and excellence of room sanitation must be checked at all times. This might mean the disinfection of conference rooms during every break.
- Hotel cleanness. When you offer accommodation for your event, make sure you communicate with hotels and are on the same page for a virus-free setting, sharing all measures taken to attendees too.
- Audio-visual supply, lanyards, goodie bags. These are just examples of what will need to be sanitised continuously before handing them to attendees. Considering also attendees might be likely to reject them if they do not trust proper hygiene measures have been taken. Suppliers with high sensitisation standards can, in this case, make your life easier.
Triage and Management of whoever appears Symptomatic
The event organiser is responsible for taking the right measures in case anyone feels COVID-19 symptomatic. In that case, it is highly recommended having a designed space for these people and immediately isolate them there. Cooperate with local health professionals and partners to create a plant for curing staff and attendees who do not leave locally. Create a plan to separate and care for weaker individuals.
Take measures for sick staff or attendees to leave them even as soon as possible. Provide them with clean, one-use face masks if possible.
Contact emergency facilities when needed. Public transport and cabs or taxis should be avoided, and sick individuals should always wear a face mask when in a vehicle.
These are just a few considerations every event professional should take. You might want to collaborate with event venues that thought and care about all of these measures.
Weaker Individuals Management
In the first two phases of the recovery process that the UK will take, people that are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus should not be allowed at your event.
This could cause quite a misunderstanding for event organisers. How can you be sure vulnerable individuals won’t attend your event? And is it your obligation? How do you deal with weaker individuals that decide to visit anyway and then get sick?
All these kind of measures may imply discrimination and difficult decisions to take.
Weaker individuals should not be encouraged from participating. GOV.UK clearly defines who belongs to this category:
Also, always based on GOV.UK, several other health conditions should be declared, and that can identify someone as a vulnerable individual, such as:
- people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- people with diseases of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
- people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
- people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
Post-coronavirus events will be challenging and different. Special requirements will take place.
Event size will be small at the beginning and then slowly increasing if the previous phases will be successful with low or no further spread of the virus.
Event venues will be thoroughly checked to be compliant with all health and safety, social distancing and sanitising measures.
It is clear that for most companies, virtual events will be the first choice as an alternative to the risks events may involve post-coronavirus.
For an in-person event, Health and Safety professionals will be vital, and a virus-free space will be deeply checked.
What do you think the events industry will look like post-coronavirus? Are you already taking extraordinary measures to get ready?
Let us know here.