The events industry has a real responsibly around the safety and security of customers, guests, visitors, partners and staff. This has always been the case and the industry has pioneered tools, techniques and strategies that have gone on to be used elsewhere. But over the past year we have seen the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this has fundamentally altered everything about the events industry.
Indeed, perhaps more than any other, the events industry has been forced to re-think almost every aspect of what it does. Disregarding the fact that through the periods of lockdown and the high-risk tiers events have been unable to run, even in those times where events have been allowed, strict measures have been put in place to attempt to limit the spread of the virus.
While there have been advances with the vaccines and hope on the horizon for a return to normality, now is not the time to second-guess the pandemic. Events organisers need to be prepared for the possibility of some restrictions remaining in place for the foreseeable future.
Here we take a look at how to run secure and safe events in the age of Covid-19.
How to make an event Covid-secure
Firstly, we need to consider what we mean by a Covid-secure event. There are certainly government guidelines that have been set out on how to keep an event as safe as possible during the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of this revolves around the idea of taking all reasonable precautions to limit the potential spread of the virus.
This advice changes regularly, so it’s important to keep up to date with the government’s own website. It is also important to think about what you can reasonably do at your event to minimise the risk for anyone attending.
Hygiene and cleaning
Good basic hygiene and regular cleaning have been promoted from the earliest days of the pandemic as an important way to limit the spread. This is vital at events too – you must make sure you have a cleaning and hygiene regime in place.
Instilling staff with the importance of regular hand washing and the free availability of hand sanitisers are both useful moves.
Keeping people separate
Social distancing may well remain a part of life at least for a little while longer as we slowly reduce restrictions. Large events may wish to keep some levels of social distancing in place.
Crowd management has always been an important part of event security, and so it comes into play again here. Barriers can be deployed to keep too many people from congregating in certain areas, and you may even wish to have a one-way system in place.
Once again, it is yet to truly be established whether we can leave behind the idea of having to wear face masks in crowded spaces. There have been suggestions that we may end up having to live with Covid-19 rather than overcoming it completely, so to some extent it may be preferable that visitors wear face masks, depending on the specifics of the event and the venue.
It is up to event organisers to use their judgement not only in applying the letter of the law, but also the spirit of it, when it comes to recommendations on safety.