It is Time to Prepare for Your First In-Person Event Since Covid 19
I have personally been watching the news and waiting for the day to come when I could do in person events again. Today is the day! In my area, phase 2 of reopening started and with that meant indoor events up to 50 people can be held. I have my own event services company and I will not lie, Covid 19 has been detrimental to my business. Most of my events that were planned or in discussions to be planned were all cancelled. I was able to help some businesses with online events and I did even come up with some out of the box ways to create the experiences I like to make sure are part of the event, but some businesses did not want to even explore an online event.
If you know events, the announcement that you can hold events is not a magic wand that everything will be the same as usual for events up to 50 people and will immediately happen. It will not be the same. It will be different. Events usually take months to plan. Most venues I work with would not plan for the event until it was safe to do so. Even though we expected to move into phase 2 by this time, it was not guaranteed so the venue only planned for what they were able to do as of today. Meaning larger events than 50 people probably can not be officially planned until we are in phase 3 which could happen as early as two weeks from today – but could be longer. There are some future events planned for fall that are larger, but there have been agreements made and clauses included in their contracts to help protect each other’s interests in situations like these along with contingency plans to have the event in a different way if by chance that is needed.
Since I have been so excited about being able to have in person events again, each month since we started the stay at home orders, I have planned the events I do have to work on to be both online and in person, making the decision about a month out which way to go. I have had to make the decision to go online each month until now. I will be able to have in person events again in July. I did feel like we needed at least a month’s notice to market the event and I am hoping that people’s mindsets and the news will be better in a month
In Person Event Mindset
I have been taking polls of people who attend events what their mindset is for attending events if they could for the past few months. In May it was 50% of the people would attend events if they were lawful and safe. My latest June poll is 65% of the people would attend. I am happy to see that it is increasing. This is not a right and wrong answer. We have been living in real fear and danger. Many have lost loved ones. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, may have different reasons and have been touched differently by this pandemic. Fear and panic are contagious and so is leadership. I have chosen to take a leadership role to now go forward with live events in a safe way of course. I am hoping that people will see that in person events are starting to take place again, more restaurants are opening along with larger entertainment places like Disney, water parks, casinos… and will start to venture out if they have not done so already. I recommend as a first step before attending an in-person event is to go enjoy a meal at a restaurant. Another step, if you have not done so already, make a salon or haircut appointment.
Personal Preparations to Attend Your First In-Person Event
It has been awhile since we have got groups of people together. It is funny how we adapt. I know with having Zoom meetings, the top half of me is put together and the bottom half not so much. Here is a list of personal things to think about before attending your first in-person event.
- Dress yourself from head to toe.
- Groom yourself appropriately – I know my nails need attention!
- Bring your business cards to business events
- Add a mask and hand sanitizer to what you usually take with you when you attend events.
- Babysitter? Some of you have kids that were not able to go to summer camps or do other activities that are now around at home. You may need to arrange who will be watching your children.
- Decide your method of greeting someone without a handshake, hug, high five, fist or elbow bump. Some ideas are bowing, waving, blow kiss gesture, heart made with your hands…
First In-Person Event Preparations for the Event Organizer
Which venues are open? It is up to the venue whether they open their doors or not. Just like some stores and restaurants, some have chosen to wait until we are further along with reopening phases.
Is space sufficient? You will need more space to do the proper social distancing at your event. Larger spaces and being able to be spread out also makes people feel safer.
Can your event be held outdoors? You can increase the amount of people for events up to 100 if it is outdoors with phase 2 reopening. Being outside has been deemed overall safer for gatherings.
What is venue doing on their part to be safe? Most venues are following guidelines for what they need to do to create a safe environment but you should ask to make sure and you might discover that they may be going above what is required and this would be good for you to share with people attending the event. Access to places to wash hands and have plenty of visible hand sanitizer is a must. Staff wearing masks and sometimes gloves. They have food requirements which you will need to plan for. Food is now plated or served by a staff member, there are no self-service buffets.
What is the venue requiring of your attendees? It is common sense but needs to be said, if someone is sick, they need to stay home. If you were in contact with anyone with the virus you should quarantine yourself. Some venues will require masks. They may take people’s temperatures.
Communicate to your attendees what is being done by the venue, what is required of them and how it will be different than usual. This will help prepare everyone for what will be different and what to expect.
Communicate new practices – no handshakes, hugs… and give alternatives. As mentioned before this could be a bow, a wave, or another form of greeting without contact.
Yes, attending events will be different. But I know at least from my point of view, it will be so good to see people in person again!