With news that event giants Glastonbury Festival have decided to cancel their event for the second year running due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s likely that many other major events will follow. Many event organisers are now wondering whether their safety measures and precautions are enough to encourage attendance at face to face events.
Almost one year on since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and it’s fair to say that the desire to meet and get back to in-person meetings is at an all-time high! Current restrictions on mass gatherings and international travel are impacting organisers decision of whether to commit to in person events in 2021.
The roll out of the vaccine is, however bringing some hope, with the UK Government claiming that they’re currently on target to vaccinate 14 million people by mid-February.
What can we, as organisers do to help aid the recovery of the event sector without compromising sustainability?
Clear, concise communication
Keeping attendees and workers safe are a organisers number one priority. Let your attendees know about all of the safety measures and precautions you have in place at the event, including sustainability solutions in response to the increased health and safety measures e.g. refill hand sanitizers and eco-friendly cleaning materials.
This is a shared responsibility so let attendees know what is required of them e.g. bring their reusable face masks and advise them of appropriate dress code if you have implemented extra ventilation measures in your venue.
Risk assessment and scenario planning.
Understand the risk of COVID – 19 spread at your event so you can plan for all scenarios. Virtual only activities will have the lowest risk but even smaller outdoor events will carry moderate risk so ensure that you have planned for every “crisis” scenario and ‘stress test’ your risk assessment. Certify that attendee details are captured in such a way that, if a break out was to occur, you could trace and act swiftly. You may find that you need to reduce numbers, or require a greater level of detail from your attendees to accommodate rapid testing, temperature checks and contact tracing. Could digital tickets be linked to the NHS Covid-19 app or perhaps even include information about vaccine status?
Smaller curated events with a digital twin
Organise smaller, digitally enhanced events that combine the best of the online and live experience, and provide attendees with the option to attend in-person or online. This creates a more inclusive, accessible event for all. Be realistic about venue capacity taking into account any social distancing requirements and one-way systems, and whether or not the venue has outdoor space.
Champion local suppliers
COVID-19 highlighted the fragility of our supply chains and the need to build in resilience to global shocks. Reduce risk and your impact on the environment by supporting local suppliers and services. Not only will this offer cost savings, but supporting local suppliers can also create positive social change through economic benefits and help grow the green economy.
Sustainability can drive innovation, especially when trying to overcome certain challenges, take for example the resurgence of single use plastics in response to COVID-19. Opt for reusables rather than offer disposables, and encourage attendees to bring their own facemask, lunchbox, coffee cup etc. Use refill hand sanitizers and eco-friendly cleaning materials. Gamify social distancing measures and re-imagine event catering through more personalised choices to reduce food waste.
FOMO – Fear of missing out
Create an event that’s truly unmissable and write about it!