Each country, and even every state, has a different response to the coronavirus pandemic. It seems that whenever cases have gone down in one country, they rise in another. When one state lifts restrictions, another has to reimplement them. The only predictable thing about COVID-19 is that it is unpredictable.
So what does that mean for the event industry going forward? Thankfully, vaccines and immunity have allowed people to gather again with a semblance of normalcy. Concerts, sporting events, and restaurants are once again open to the public. However, COVID-19 has created a lasting impact on the way people plan and execute special events.
Let’s explore how large event management in a post-COVID-19 world has changed.
Hygiene Is the Top Priority
Gone are the days of sporadic handwashing stations and limited hand sanitizer pumps at large events. In a post-COVID-19 world, venues and event planners will be subject to intense scrutiny to make sure they have superior hygiene standards in place.
Planners will need to inquire with venues about their cleaning protocols and ask questions such as:
- How many staff members are dedicated to cleaning?
- What is the cleaning schedule?
- Are certain areas cleaned more than others?
- What products are used to clean?
In indoor venues such as stadiums and concert halls, event planners should secure ample hand sanitizer stations to be placed in accessible areas around the venue. For outdoor events, hygiene takes a whole different priority.
Since many outdoor event locations don’t have access to pre-established restrooms and sinks, it is vital to provide enough portable restrooms and mobile handwashing stations for guests. You may remember how much handwashing and social distancing were encouraged at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. This was because healthcare experts determined that, like many other diseases, COVID-19 can easily spread from people’s hands to their face and from person to person in close proximity.
The large event industry shut down because of how fast COVID-19 spread in crowded scenarios. Now, in a post-COVID-19 event management world, hand hygiene is more important than ever. Venues and event planners must provide handwashing stations to prevent illnesses like pink eye, hepatitis A, and COVID-19.
Reconsider Buffet-Style Food
Most events serve food through catering, food trucks, or concession stands. At large events post-COVID-19, planners should prioritize serving food in the most hygienic way possible. Most event planners have taken buffet-style food off of the menu for the foreseeable future. Buffet lines, along with communal condiment tables, are places where germs can easily spread from people to food.
The best way to serve food at large events is through a grab-and-go process. Food should be ready to go and handed directly to the person eating it to minimize as much interaction as possible. Of course, event managers should set up plenty of hand sanitizer stations in dining areas.
“Contactless” has been a popular term since March of 2020. People get contactless grocery pickup, non-contact food delivery, and make contact-free payments. Technology has adapted to accommodate people through event apps and check-in kiosks so they can avoid unnecessary interaction if desired.
As the event industry moves forward in a post-COVID-19 world, contactless registration, sign-in, and purchasing will become even more popular. Many event managers may even decide to completely forgo cash payments to minimize contact. If you choose to only accept credit card payments, ensure all attendees are given plenty of advance notice so that they arrive fully prepared.
Maintain Virtual Options
Large event management applies in the digital world as well! While so many people are excited to attend in-person events again, many others remain nervous. Even though you may be ready to move on from Zoom concerts and networking events, consider accommodating people who would prefer to attend virtually. Set up a live stream at your large event so people can tune in online.
Virtual streaming options also allow you to reach audiences that would normally be too far away to attend certain events in person. When you opt to provide virtual streaming options, you maintain the best of both worlds. People who want to attend live events get to satisfy their social quota, and people who feel most comfortable at home still get to participate.
Implement Social Distancing Strategies
“Social distancing” has become a common buzzword in our daily lives. It is now commonplace to see stickers on the floor indicating six feet of space and signs posted in public spaces that remind patrons to maintain their distance.
Event planners should thoroughly plan activities and site maps in a way that accommodates social distancing. Of course, six feet of distance between each person is not always possible at large events, but the effort is worth it to minimize the spread of coronavirus. Consider creating one-way flow paths to minimize congestion in areas such as:
- Portable restrooms
- Registration desks
- Dining areas
- Security checkpoints
- Retail shopping areas
Providing these types of details in advance, when bidding on a new job at a large event, could land you the contract! These changes matter to event planners and as a PRO, you can offer solutions to their problems in a multitude of ways.
Always Stay Flexible
If the event planning industry has learned anything during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that details can change in the blink of an eye. Flexibility has always been an essential skill for event managers, but it is even more important when it comes to planning large events in a post-COVID-19 world.
Stay up-to-date on all the latest restrictions and recommendations, and be prepared to change the details of your event at a moment’s notice. If your event needs to change to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, remain patient as you communicate with clients, vendors, and guests.
Large Event Management is Possible in a Post COVID-19 World
Even if COVID-19 is eradicated one day, the impact of the pandemic is here to stay. For the event industry specifically, adaptations and accommodations must be made in the form of stringent hygiene, food safety, social distancing, and virtual streaming options. However, even if large event management looks a little different, most people are eager to gather together for fun events once again.
If you need a sanitation vendor for your next outdoor event, reach out to Satellite Industries today. We can provide portable restrooms, mobile handwashing stations, and hand sanitizer stands to keep your event safe and healthy.