Events during the current pandemic have a whole new set of guidelines they must follow. People cannot assemble in a crowd; they must stand a certain number of feet apart, and everything that can be touched must be sanitised. These guidelines impact events like trade shows, weddings, concerts, and stage shows.
As we start to come out of lockdown, how do we maintain social distancing in the future?
Before people can even reach social distance, they need to be monitored for their health. Each person’s temperature should be taken at the door. It does take extra time, but this can help cut down on anyone with symptoms entering the event.
Manage The Flow Of People
If you’ve been shopping lately, you feel you’re committing a crime when you go the wrong way down an aisle. Look at event venues where you can control the flow of attendees, whether with crowd control systems or the use of corridors to created a structured flow.
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No Personal Contact
It’s customary when you’re at an event to extend a handshake, a hug or a kiss on the cheek. This can’t happen at any events right now. A simple nod, a wave or a smile will have to give the same effect until we can touch when we greet again.
Reduce The Size
You can reduce the number of exhibitors at these events or find a smaller space with more circulation area. This means you find a space where you can create more exhibition places in the halls to allow social distancing. The main thing to watch when changing areas is the event space cost.
Whether setting up tables at a cocktail reception or an exhibit, you can space them accordingly. It’s best to keep each table six feet apart. You can create 12-foot aisles. It might sound like a bit much, but you can also put tape down to indicate six feet between each person if standing in a line. This will be hard to police, but it will help social distancing. Make sure the number of people around each table is kept to a minimum.
The Seating Debacle
Movie theatres try to find the perfect formula for their social distancing seating configuration. Seats will be removed or blocked so people cannot sit beside one another. Seating will be a considerable component of any significant event. You can have people sit in every other seat or position seat in a way six feet apart. It might look and feel strange, but it will keep everyone safe.
People need to know the rules. Ensure you have adequate communication so they understand what to do in your event venue. If they need to wear a mask, ensure this is clear in signage. They need to know precisely where to stand in line so they are far enough away from the person in front of them. Don’t just assume they know all of the social distancing rules.
If you’re hosting an event, you can stagger the attendance of the delegates. This does mean your exhibitors at a show will need to stay for a more extended period. You could have a few different keynote speakers so all delegates would get the same experience at the front. Staggering attendance helps people feel free to come to your show without fearing big crowds.
Scale Ticket Price
Fewer people must attend if you’re hosting a big event like a trade show or a concert. This can be tough on ticket sales. You may lose 1/3 of your audience because of these numbers. The ticket prices can be partially hiked since you are losing potential clients and money. This means opening day would usually cost the most since they get the most access. This is the only way to ensure you still get people in the door and can control the numbers simultaneously. No one wants to hike prices, but it must be done to ensure the safety of everyone who comes through those doors.
No More Open Booth Time
Some people love to hang out at the “fun” booths, playing games and enjoying the freebies. The open booth days might not be possible during COVID-19. The access to each booth needs to be controlled. Meeting rooms are usually small so the exhibitor can maximise the number of meetings hosted simultaneously. This cannot happen anymore. Now, these rooms need to be more significant to allow more space for people and circulation, or the number of people needs to be lower to allow proper social distancing measures.
You also need to consider the time it will take to sanitise a room after each use.
Overall, social distancing is up to each individual as well as the people hosting the big events. We are social animals that want to attend big events. We’ll usually follow all of the rules and do everything in our power to get to attend these events again. For now, this is the new normal. We must enforce social distancing at big events to ensure everyone stays safe in attendance.
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- Making Informed Decisions about Coronavirus and your Event
- COVID Events Checklist
- Emerging Trends in UK Exhibitions Post-Pandemic
- Making Your Events More Inclusive