RESUMING IN-PERSON EVENTS : ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS
How can event design and session scheduling be altered to make my conference/event safer?
The effort starts with event registration. “At our registration desks, each attendee’s ID is scanned without being handled, and then the attendee takes the badge and lanyard themselves, i.e. there is no contact with anyone.”
Using an event’s mobile app to get administrative things done beforehand so that nobody has to touch anything on site unless necessary. We also use it to ask health-related questions, and attendees receive a personal bar code they must present upon arrival that says they have acknowledged that they feel well and have no symptoms and will abide by all our rules while on site.” Combined with the other actions detailed below, these approaches enhance safety while demonstrating the host’s due diligence regarding duty of care before and on arrival.
As hotels and other meeting venues scramble to adapt meeting environments in the Covid-19 era, they’re getting creative about outdoor events. The result is more educational, networking, and sponsor-led sessions on pool terraces, lawns, and even in parking lots, using Bedouin tents that provide sun and weather protection as well as good air flow.
Additionally, prefunction spaces with doors or windows that open to the outside are being used to host breakout sessions through the strategic placement of planters or other partitions. “Keeping doors and windows open as much as possible is helpful, though you still must make sure people are wearing masks and maintaining a 1.5m distance, even when outside. One other element to consider: “You need to plan for physical security and information security if you use outdoor or semi-outdoor spaces.”
When it comes to the opening-night outdoor concert, use stickers on the ground that say “Stand here,” because in that type of situation people tend to get close together without realizing it.”
The biggest complications, however, come with general sessions and breakouts that use traditional indoor spaces. Besides keeping attendees socially distanced throughout each session, the entry and exit process for meeting rooms makes distancing difficult to maintain—and each room must be disinfected before the next group of attendees enters the space, requiring longer breaks and more labour. But there is a way to avoid that situation: Keep groups of attendees together for a series of breakout sessions, use assigned seating, and have only the presenters change rooms between sessions rather than attendees.
Between breakout sessions, the facility should be disinfecting the presenter’s table, chair, and audiovisual equipment, while all presenters should have their own microphones that go with them from room to room. And at night, the facility needs to fog and sterilize the space.
Food and beverage is another area where new scheduling needs to be considered. When refreshment breaks and meals happen, it will take longer for people to be served and eat. Pre-order set served menus are best alternatively buffets behind Perspex screens served by hotel/venue staff.
For transporting delegates keep it down to no more than half capacity and spaced out on board coaches and for social networking cocktail and dinner events of course empty seats between attendees and masks on.
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