You could be forgiven for being nervous to plan an event during a pandemic. Events can be stressful at the best of times. Add in a pandemic and the possibility of lockdown and we see internal risk teams pulling out their hair. But it doesn’t have to be this way if your event is well planned and Covid-proof!
Planning is an essential element of any successful event. Even more so when you are planning an event during a pandemic. Ideally you should have a Plan A (the event running as normal), a Plan B (the event running with extra restrictions and/or partial lockdowns) and a Plan C (the event running in the case of a full lockdown). Planning ahead will ensure your event truly is Covid-proof.
Plan A – The event running as normal
This option is fairly straightforward. Plan your event as you would have done when you were blissfully unaware of what Covid-19 was. Audience interaction, unrestricted catering options and many rooms/areas. But don’t get too excited on this one. The reality is that even if we aren’t in lockdown there is going to be some kind of health restrictions in place.
There are a few reasons that we ask clients to do this. Firstly, clients tend to find it easier to freely dictate what they had imagined the event to look like. They may even be looking to repeat a successful event that was held before 2019. Secondly it allows us to see the elements of the event that are important to the client. There may be elements that are vitally important but don’t fit with the current health restrictions and may need to be re-imagined.
Plan B – The event running with some extra restrictions and/or partial lockdowns
This option is the most widely used in 2020/2021. As we have experienced, it is rare to have no health restrictions in place. This is the category that the popular “Hybrid” events fall into. This plan will help you to re-imagine your event in a Covid-Safe way. You may have some attendees who are not able to attend the event. In which case a Hybrid event (an event that is partly online and partly in person) works perfectly. For some further tips on how to make your Hybrid event engaging visit our blog. Alternatively the event may remain as per Plan A with some slight changes. Eg. Ensuring no crowding and the implementation of masks/sanitizer and QR code check ins. You will need to consider all elements of the event.
Look at whether changes are required in order to comply with the current Public Health orders. You will also need to ensure that you have completed a Covid Safe plan. This is in addition to the normal risk assessment to ensure that you have covered all risks.
Plan C – The event is running but all attendees and staff have been placed in lockdown
Lockdown – the word that sparks fear in the heart of most Australians (particularly VIC!). At the beginning of the pandemic, the word lockdown meant events were cancelled in their thousands. Now, 18months into the pandemic, businesses are beginning to realise that this isn’t going away any time soon. They are gradually working on ways to move forward despite lockdowns.
When you are in the early planning stages of your event, you need to negotiate with your suppliers. Work together to find a contingency plan in the case of lockdowns or border closures. For example, we are planning an event which involves attendees from all states of Australia. There is a medium chance that at the time of the event, one or more of the states may have lockdown’s in place or border closures. As such we have negotiated to ensure that we can reduce our numbers without penalty if states were to close. We have also requested the option to transfer the funds to another event within 12months. This option would come into place should we need to cancel the in-person event and move to an online version. During the initial planning stages of the event we have discussed and planned what the event would look like in online format. Which platform would we use? How would it need to change to work with an online environment? Which are the key elements of the event and how do we ensure that they are still as powerful? How are we going to measure the success of the event?
A good event planner will help you to plan your events and ensure consistency & flow. A great event planner will ensure you have a plan for all possible situations. They will help you work through all the different plans and ensure that your event is a success – no matter what form it’s presented in. If you would like to chat through what the options might look like for your next event, please contact Events Outsourced. We would be happy to assist you to make your next event Covid-Proof.