New challenges and safety concerns have surfaced due to the rise of the Delta Variant. But you’re an event professional. You’ve got this! Together as an industry, we’ve overcome many hurdles in event planning during the pandemic. Unfortunately, this is just the next one. The ultra contagious variant indeed presents new challenges. But fear not! With a multi-layered approach to safety, we can gather in-person with confidence.
We sat down with Brecky Bihary, a certified infrared thermographer at Infrared Imaging Solutions. She performs hundreds of health screenings at events, and we wanted to get her expert advice on how to plan an in-person event safely. We’ll dive into her advice and some of our best tips below.
1. A Layered Approach to Safety
This is the #1 tip, and a must for planning a safe in-person event. We all know there are many variables when it comes to combating COVID-19. No one trick will catch all cases. Some people will have symptoms, others will be asymptomatic. In order to mitigate risk and provide a safe event, Brecky suggests a safety in layers approach.
“People need a layered approach. The goal is to stop that one person, and keep the event going. This means a comprehensive approach to safety and layers of protection. Have Covid policies on your website in easy to understand pictures. Take temperatures at the door and encourage attendees who are sick to stay home. Help attendees understand policies such as social distancing and masking ahead of the event, then reiterate your message to reduce risks.”
Brecky Bihary, Thermographer, Infrared Imaging Solutions
2. Adhere to Local Guidelines
Your event location can play a factor in planning a safe in-person event. For example, some areas have low community spread, while others are at higher risk. Always adhere to your local health department guidelines and follow CDC guidance for organizing large events. These experts will help you determine if it’s safe to gather, what factors to consider, and how to mitigate the risks.
3. Clear Communications
Communicate your event policies well ahead of the event’s start date. On your website, when ticket sales launch, have current policies. Be sure to let attendees know that policies can and will change as the event unfolds. Have the communications in easy-to-understand formats such as videos or pictures.
Source: Infrared Imaging Solutions
4. Health Screenings
Once attendees arrive on-site, health screening before entry is your first layer of protection. Infrared temperature checks and health surveys can catch symptomatic people before they enter your event.
To have the most accurate screenings and save time, we recommend using infrared technology. It is much more accurate and takes only 1 second per person (a savings of 5-10 seconds over handheld readings per person!)
Infrared Imaging Solutions performs an infrared temperature check using a 12-point algorithm. The camera pinpoints people who have a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit with 99.8% accuracy. If guests are flagged during the temperature check, they move to an additional screening area to keep everyone safe.
It’s important to note; health screenings only catch symptomatic cases, which is why event professionals need to take a layered approach.
5. Encourage Social Distancing
Social distancing remains one of the most effective ways we can reduce the spread of COVID-19. By reducing close contact, we can lessen the chances of any guest spreading or contracting covid. While planning events, consider creating a socially distanced layout that allows room for attendees to spread out.
Below is a glimpse into Allseated’s new Physical Distancing Tool. This tool helps events and meetings transition back to in-person events safely. It allows planners to create their layout with physical distancing in mind. For example, if any seats are too close, the chairs will turn red, allowing you to redesign to ensure a safe distance. The default is 6-feet, but planners can change this distance based on local guidelines.
Make sure safety guidance is apparent throughout your event. This includes your event website and at your venue. Make sure to post signage that reiterates safety guidelines such as the need for masks, frequent hand washing, and reminding attendees to stay home if they feel sick. Place the signage in high visibility areas throughout your event as a reminder to help prevent spread.
Source: AlphaGraphics Seattle
Above are a variety of examples from our partners at AlphaGraphics Seattle. Signs like these help in-person events across the region return safely. They have you covered from floor graphics to posters, allowing you to communicate important messaging.
7. Go Touchless
Utilize touchless check-in and payments to reduce contact. For example, Kilk’s smart badges use RFID technology that allows people to network, collect information from vendors, and check into the event through their badges. In cases of exposure, planners can even use this technology for contact tracing and promptly notifying anyone who needs to be.
8. Be Ready to Adapt
Above everything else, be ready to shift as the landscape changes. Always create a backup plan in case local guidelines or recommendations shift! Event professionals are known for being creative and adaptable. That’s what we do! And moving ahead, we can and will find ways to gather safely in this new world!
There you have it, our eight best safety tips for planning an in-person event! Follow these suggestions, and you’ll confidently create safe in-person events. Remember to be flexible, adapt, and stay in communication with your attendees, suppliers, and vendors. None of these tips will work alone but together create powerful protection for attendees and staff alike!