Event Planning in 2022: Gather Safely

As many organization return to in-person events as pandemic restrictions ease, keeping everyone's safety and security at events is a priority. Follow these tips to help your clients build events that will give guests a great return to in-person events.

1. Keep up with the latest guidelines

Now and in the future, delivering safe events for your attendees is important. Follow guidance and pay attention to expert advice, which may come from the Centers for Disease Control, state or local government, leadership at the event venue, and leadership with the event host. Be ready to switch event details, formats, or protocols if needed as situations may change. 

2. Communicate safety policies and protocols early and often

Make sure event guests know what to expect. Are masks required? If so, plan to have masks available at the registration area. Is proof of vaccination required? If so, can people show a photo of a vaccination card on their phone, and are there exceptions? 

Also make sure that event attendees and staff are aware of the closest COVID-19 testing facilities, should someone start experiencing symptoms or learn that they've been exposed. 

Make sure hand sanitizer stations are plentiful, and that event guests know where to find them.

3. Create a safe and comfortable environment

Appreciate that people have different perspectives on masking and social distancing. In your communications, encourage people to respect each other’s wishes. Some people will be comfortable enough to hug, others will prefer a fist bump or elbow bump, and some will be okay with shaking hands.

You may also want to space people further apart. For example, if you usually seat 10 people per table, you may want to reduce that to six or seven people to give everyone some additional space. It may seem like social distancing is a thing of the past, but we've done it for so long that it makes some people feel comfortable. 

You can limit the touchpoints by going paperless. Have signs with QR codes to scan, rather than paper handouts. The bonus is this is also more eco-friendly! You may even want to offer touchless payment options on site like Apple Pay or Venmo. 

Consider using outdoor spaces where virus transmission is less likely. 

4. Be ready for cancellations 

Speakers, staff, and attendees will be more likely to cancel at the last minute. It's a good idea to line up volunteers to backup staff and have back up speakers on standby for every session.