The current global situation surrounding COVID-19 has many people questioning their safety while going out just about anywhere. Events such as weddings, showers, and graduations have been cancelled all over the country. Now, with the pandemic under better control, many restaurants, churches, parks, etc. are starting to open back up at a limited capacity. No one is certain if these newly opened businesses will stay open long-term, or if they will find themselves getting closed down again with little notice.
With all of this uncertainty, many people are left asking, what does this all mean for hosting in-person events?
M&O Marketing offers an extensive guide on how to host specific events related to the financial industry, including Dinner Seminars and Educational Workshops. Along with guidelines there are links to safety materials that can be purchased, phone scripts for how to handle conversations about COVID-19 with potential attendees, and more. If you are interested in gaining access to these resources, email firstname.lastname@example.org and inquire about our COVID-19 Resources Guide.
To start off, there are quite a few essentials for keeping everyone safe while at your event. These include providing face masks for everyone in attendance. Although it is everyones “new norm” to have a mask on in any public area, it is wise to assume that your attendees will need a mask provided to them.
Another essential is disinfecting wipes. There are small packages of these wipes that can be given to each person in attendance, or, if these smaller packages are all sold out, having a few of the larger cans of wipes can also be used.
Lastly, and most importantly, there needs to be ample hand sanitizer in the room. Similar to disinfecting wipes, you could provide every person their own individual sand-sanitizers or you could have a few larger pumps around the room.
Make sure that all areas of the event that you presume to be high-traffic areas have a sanitizing station.
Offering a small “goodie bag” with a face mask, disinfecting wipes, and a hand sanitizer seems personal and kind. I’d feel much more assured knowing that my safety is a priority at the event.
Preparing for Anything
Working with your venue is of the utmost importance at this time. Almost every single venue will have an updated, smaller capacity and restrictions for what is acceptable and what is not. All staff at the venue will likely be wearing a mask/face covering of some sort, and many of them will be ensuring that they social distance properly. If you have any employees or volunteers helping you run your event, make sure that they are wearing masks at all times and social distancing to the best of their abilities. You and your staff will set the precedent for how others at the event should act.
The venue will likely have specific guidelines about where people can sit and stand to ensure social distancing. Some specific activities will be allowed, while others will not be, but it will be dependent on the venue; make sure to ask if all aspects of the event you are envisioning for your company will be doable at the venue. Another huge change is how venues can serve food. Most locations are no longer allowing buffet style meals, instead having employees serve meals or using a boxed system to ensure cleanliness and help stop the spread of bacteria to the best of their abilities.
In addition, as the situation evolves and changes everyday, there may be unforeseen changes throughout the event planning process, it is important to have backup plans and keep in contact with attendees about any changes that may arise. Attendees need to make sure that they feel comfortable with every aspect of the event in order to make a decision on whether or not they plan to attend. Call all of your RSVP’s guests to update them on significant changes in the event, as anything could make or break their attendance.
Being Open and Understanding
The last point is crucial. Some people are simply more worried than others about the spread of COVID-19 for a multitude of different reasons. There are certain individuals who are immuno-compromised, or have family members who are immuno-compromised. There are others who may have travel plans in the future and want to ensure the safety of their family and friends, and more who are just less comfortable going out than others. One way to help combat worries is to have a clear outline of how the event will be safe, while another idea is to also stream the event on a meeting call, such as Zoom.
Understanding that each person’s situation is different from the next is a great first step here. No matter the reasoning, if anyone decides to not attend, make sure to direct them towards a virtual event, or a virtual option for this event.
Due to the situation, there may be less people in attendance than you are used to having at events, however, it’s also good to note that the people who were willing to go out during this time will most likely be stronger leads and be more serious about your company than others. Good luck with hosting and remember to keep yourself safe during this time!