In person events are back

In-Person Events Are Back: How To Plan For A Safe Event

Wondering how to safely return to in-person events? Here are 10 easy steps to plan your return to in-person events keeping safety top of mind.
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August 28, 2022

After a long couple of years, we are finally returning to in-person events! After in-person events came to a screeching halt, no one was sure if we would ever get back to gathering in person! Returning to in-person events does present a few challenges!  Keeping yourself plus all of your guests safe is the top priority when planning these events! This guide will help you plan for a safe, yet fun and successful event!

10 Steps For A Safe And Successful Return To In-Person Events

Just because your event needs to be safe for everyone involved, it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and successful! Implementing safety measures will keep everyone safe and put their minds at ease that they are attending a clean and safe event. Following these 10 steps will ensure that your event is safe and successful!

  1. Choosing The Right Venue

As we have all seen over the past few years, the guidelines regarding safe gatherings are ever changing. Your guests will probably feel more comfortable with a larger venue, with enough space for everyone to social distance. When searching for your venue, consider how many people will be attending your event, while also considering how many staff members will also be in attendance. Looking for a venue that has enough space and will be flexible to accommodate any sudden changes that may occur will be the correct venue for your event! If the weather cooperates, you may be able to choose an outdoor venue, and people can spread out evenly throughout the venue.

  1. Set Capacity Limits

As an event organizer, we understand that you want as many people to attend your event and have a good time while learning. However, when it comes to returning to in-person events, you may need to put a capacity limit on how many people can actually attend your event. If you find a venue that has its own capacity limits, keep in mind that you have staff or vendors that may account for the number of people attending the event. Once you factor in that number, from there you can set the capacity limit. Keep an eye on the registration and be sure to end the registration when you hit the capacity limit. If you discover that more people are interested in your event, then turning to a hybrid model may be the best option! Your guests joining virtually can receive the same information as the guests joining in person!

  1. Keep Communication Clear

When planning an event, keeping communication clear is the best way to ensure that every detail is set and there will be no surprises the day of your event. Keeping open communication between your venue, vendors and guests will make sure that everyone knows your expectations. As CDC guidelines change, keeping in constant communication with everyone will make sure they can plan accordingly. The use of an event mobile app for your guests can be the best way for you to communicate and send out any changes as they happen.

  1. On-Site Catering

Your event is going to need to have a lunch or dinner break, and your guests deserve to have a nice meal, even if there are safety restrictions. If your venue allows a buffet style meal, the addition of sneeze guards over the food is the best way to stop the spread of germs. In addition to the sneeze guards, the food vendors wearing gloves and masks will ensure the proper safety measures! If your venue cannot implement a buffet style meal, the use of boxed lunches are a great way to feed your guests! Providing a survey for your guests for them to choose a meal will help you plan how many boxed meals you will need!

  1. Attendee Experience

Everyone wants to remain safe when gathering for larger in-person events. Having a system in place to alert your guests on how they can be approached is a fun way to interact! The simple use of 3 different colored stickers and letting your guests choose one will help everyone interact with each other safely!

  • Green - This sticker means you are open for handshakes.
  • Yellow - This sticker means you’re open for fist and elbow bumps
  • Red - This sticker means no touching, just a wave hello or goodbye

Your guests can add these stickers to their shirt or badge, and it will let everyone know what their comfort level is.

How to prep for in-person events again
  1. Safety Guide

Assembling a safety guide for your guests will provide them with all of the information regarding the safety measures you will be taking during your event. Following the venue and the current CDC guidelines, you are able to add all of the health and safety measures that are expected for your guests and staff and vendors. That way, your guests can be prepared for your event by bringing a mask, hand sanitizer, or anything else they feel they may need to keep themselves and others safe and comfortable.

  1. Survey Your Guests

Sending out a pre-event survey to your guests can help you gather information about them and what they expect from your event. With this survey, you can ask your guests how they plan on attending, either in-person or virtual. If you plan to have a boxed meal option, you can add a section for your guests to choose which meal they want, and if they have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. Leave a space in the survey for any questions, comments and concerns your guests may have. Obtaining all of this information will help you plan your event for the better.

  1. Stay Local

While it was nice to host events internationally, or host guests from other countries, the safest option right now is to have your events local. If your guests are all local, choosing a local venue is the best option! Your guests won’t have to worry about driving long distances or the dreaded travel days at the airport. There are many cool local venues that would be willing to host your event, and they will be willing to work with you and the vision you have for your event.

  1. Figure Out A Budget

Like any other event, figuring out a budget is a major part of planning an event. Keep in mind that when you host an in-person event, you may need to provide items like masks and hand sanitizer to keep everyone safe. Factoring in these items into your budget may mean that you need to cut back on another part of your event. However, if you inform your attendees in advance that masks are mandatory for your event, they will be sure to bring their own! However, there may be some people who forget a mask, which isn’t a problem. Buying a few boxes of masks to have in case someone needs one needs to be worked into your budget.

  1. Entrance And Exit Procedures

A great way to reduce the amount of interaction between guests is to stagger the entrances and exits. As an event begins and ends, the guests are usually crowding into small rooms and elevators, which is a breeding ground for germs. To avoid this, having staff members take small groups of guests to the event area will avoid any overcrowding. As the event concludes, you may do the same thing, by calling out smaller groups to leave and avoid any crowds. If your budget allows, having hand sanitizing stations by doorways and elevators will encourage your guests to have clean hands as they enter and exit the event area.

5 Safety Measures To Take When Hosting An In-Person Event

Safety is the number one priority when it comes to hosting an in-person event. You want your guests and yourself to feel as safe and comfortable as possible. These safety measures are ever changing, and keeping up to date with these safety measures is vital to your event. Remain compliant with your local safety measures, and by following these 5 safety measures for your event, you can be sure everyone will remain healthy while still having fun!

  1. Require A Negative Test or Proof Of Vaccination

In order to host the safest event, requiring your attendees to bring a negative COVID-19 test or a proof of vaccination in order to enter the event will ensure everyone is healthy. You can communicate this with your guests by notifying them through email or your safety guide you provide. You can request these items either by email or when your guest checks in. By having your guests provide these documents, you can ensure that everyone attending your event is healthy and it will put everyone’s minds at ease.

  1. On-Site Health Checks

When your guests arrive at your event, you may still want to provide health checks and screenings to everyone. This may include a temperature check or even a rapid COVID-19 test. Determining that your guests are healthy will only make your event run smoothly and efficiently. If your budget allows, there are companies who offer walk-through sanitation devices. The devices can be placed at the front entrance of your event, and it will sanitize your guest, their clothing and their belongings.

  1. Masking

As we all know, wearing masks is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19. In large group gatherings like your event, masks may be required for all guests, employees and vendors. Be clear when providing this information to your guests, and let them know that if they forget a mask, one will be provided for them! If your event has an outdoor space, your guests may want to take their masks off to get some fresh air!

Taking safety precautions for in person events
  1. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer can be made readily available for your guests! Bottles of hand sanitizer can be placed on each table for your guests to use whenever they see fit! Having hand sanitizing stations that people can use quickly as they walk by will be the best way to ensure everyone has clean hands. If people feel the need to wash their hands with hot water and soap, explain to them where the restrooms are, and be sure to allow time for guests to wash their hands before eating.

  1. Social Distancing

Social distancing has been a part of our lives for two years now. When creating an agenda for your event, be mindful of the fact that you may need to social distance. For whatever floor plan you choose for your event, be sure to take into account the distance between your guests. If you have a table and chair floor plan, be mindful of how many guests you put at each table. While some guests may be fine sitting in close proximity to others, other guests may not be so comfortable. Having an accurate attendance number will help you in the arranging of the chairs, keeping social distancing in mind.

6 Key Tips To Safely Hosting In-Person Events

Planning an event while keeping safety measures in mind can be difficult! Trying to keep up with the current CDC guidelines for gatherings, as well as selecting vendors and keeping a guest count can be a lot for an event organizer! If you are feeling lost about hosting a safe event, follow these 6 easy steps!

  1. Be Flexible

The events industry has seen drastic changes since the beginning of the pandemic. Your event may need to change something at the drop of a hat. When searching for your venue, communicate with them that things may need to change and you will have to adapt to those changes. Choosing a venue that will be flexible around your schedule and time frame will be easier for you to plan! The way that you and your company handle any potential, last minute changes will show your guests that you are resilient under any circumstance.

  1. Have A Back Up Plan

Great event planners always have a back up plan for every event. Maybe you didn’t have as many guests show up, or maybe you have more than you were anticipating. Working around these challenges and having a backup plan will help you in the event that you do have too many guests show up. Preparing the event room with extra chairs, tables and space will be helpful as you set up the room! There could be a potential that your food vendor doesn’t show up! In this case, having a backup plan with another food vendor is your best option to make sure everyone has something to eat!

  1. Follow The Current CDC Guidelines

The CDC guidelines are ever changing, and they are set in place to keep everyone in the country safe and healthy. Before your event, be sure to refer to the CDC website to review the current guidelines for gathering in large events. While keeping in mind the CDC rules for gatherings, also keep in mind the local guidelines for gathering, if there are any.

  1. Communication

Having open lines of communication with your guests, employees and vendors will make your event run smoothly. In a world that can change in an instant, keeping the lines of communication open will ensure that everyone is on the same page. Everyone should have a clear understanding of what is going to be happening at the event, and all of the safety precautions your company and venue are taking.

  1. Touchless Contact Sharing

Events of all kinds come with networking. Networking is the best way to meet new people and take their information to later connect. The connections you make at an event can potentially help you later on in your professional career or your everyday life. The use of badges and lanyards for everyone with their name and title can be useful for guests to get to know each other. Taking a business card out of your wallet and handing it to someone can spread germs. With badges, you can introduce yourself to someone, get their name, and then from there use your phone to connect through LinkedIn or social media.

  1. Post Event Follow Up

Once the event is over, sending out a post event survey is the best way to gather information about how the event went, and what worked and what didn’t work. Asking your guests how safe they felt on a scale of 1-10 will give you the information needed to plan your next event. Keep in mind that the potential for a new CDC guideline may be in place for your next event. However, if your guests feel like they were safe and healthy the entire event, then you can take those safety precautions and use them again for your next event.

Should You Make Your Events Hybrid?

There are people who still don’t feel comfortable attending and gathering at large events, which is totally fine! If that is the case, consider turning your event into a hybrid event. Guests who aren’t attending your event, for whatever reason, can still attend the event, just virtually! Providing your virtual guests with a link to join the event will immerse them right into the action! Asking your guests at registration how they will be attending the event can determine if you need to add a hybrid element to your event.

The End Of Virtual Events?

Are virtual events coming to an end? Yes and no. Returning to in-person events means that people are able to gather together, after years of at-home events. During the pandemic, people may have moved to a new city or state, thanks to switching to working from home. If you want to host an event within your company, your employees may be living elsewhere. If they are, they can still attend the event virtually. Whether you have a full attendance of in-person guests, always have the option to do a hybrid event model, if necessary.

Be ready for in person events again

Key Takeaways: How To Keep Your Guests Safe

As an event organizer, it is your responsibility to keep your guests safe and healthy while they attend your event. By maintaining distance between your guests, having hand sanitizer readily available and doing health checks before the event, your guests will have the best chance at staying healthy. Following the CDC guidelines, local guidelines and even the venue guidelines will ensure that your guests will have a great time at your event and will feel comfortable gathering with others.  

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