By Slade Thompson

Spring and Summer 2020 have brought a plethora of difficult decisions to the desks of event planners around the world. Should we postpone? Should we cancel? Should we do a virtual event? You probably have tackled many of those questions already. But maybe you have not had time to look ahead and ask yourself, “When can we hold an in-person event?” Here are a few questions you should consider when you start the discussion with your team about resuming live events.

Is it legal?

This may seem like a cut and dry answer. Of course, nothing in our new normal is that easy. Your city, county, or state officials may have an easy answer for you. Or perhaps they defer to federal guidelines. In reality, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. The real question may be “Does your organization have the proper protection in place to have a live event, if such an event is allowed?”

  • Has your legal team been consulted and taken measures to protect your organization, such as a revised waiver?
  • Is your HR team prepared to support your staffing needs, and are they up to date on new workers compensation practices? What will you do if your staff feel unsafe and don’t feel comfortable participating in a live event in this atmosphere?
  • Do you need to secure additional insurance coverage in case a participant contracts an illness at your event? Are there safety requirements from your insurance agency in order for you to be protected? Ask your insurance broker if your insurance will cover COVID-19 type of cases if an employee gets sick while performing work duties.
  • Discuss these and other questions with your full organization so your team is prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Is it safe?

While perhaps you can legally produce a live event in accordance with CDC guidelines, is it actually safe to do so? If your clients are health-related organizations, like the majority of Event 360’s clients are health-related organizations, many participants at your event may be immunocompromised or have other underlying health issues that put them at a higher risk.

  • What changes need to be made to your standard operations? Can you eliminate onsite registration or donation collection to reduce possible exposure? Can you increase the frequency and amount of your cleaning procedures?
  • What operations do you need to add? Will you do temperature screening of participants at the event? How can you maintain safe distances between individuals? What sanitation services do you need to add?
  • How will you protect staff and volunteers, who may have the most and longest exposure to other people?

Is it right?

Finding an answer to this question may be the most difficult for your event. It is highly subjective and will require some difficult conversations with multiple stakeholders. One element we think is critical to consider here is, “How will your event impact resources within the community?”

  • Does your event require medical support and are the local resources available to fulfill those needs?
  • Can you procure the necessary supplies (hand sanitizer, cleaning products, masks) without negatively impacting the daily needs of the community?
  • In order to safely produce your event, do you need the presence of law enforcement, private security companies, or other governmental presence? Do these parties have the physical and mental ability to be involved right now? Will your participants be comfortable with those parties being at the event?

Nobody is looking forward to the return of live events more than the team at Event 360. Providing people an opportunity to be a part of making the world a better place is our passion. We love building the space and opportunity for individuals to connect with others and with organizations they are passionate about. We cannot wait until the day the answer to these questions and many more is a resounding “YES!”

If you need help fulfilling your goals until we can be together in person, we are happy to help. And if you need help exploring these questions, we would gladly be a part of that discussion as well. And when you feel comfortable getting your community together in person, we definitely want to be a part of that celebration, too.

Slade Thompson has been with Event 360 for more than 15 years and has played a role in planning and executing more than 100 events ranging from a 5K for a few hundred people to multi-day events for thousands of participants.

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