In the age of social distancing, conducting social events has become more of a challenge. During the early months of the pandemic, mass gatherings have been completely shut down to prevent the spread of the virus. But as restrictions are easing, social events are starting to make a comeback.
However, just because restrictions are getting looser in your area doesn’t mean the risk of the virus is gone. If you are planning an event during this pandemic, here are some important things to remember:
1. Find an organizer
If you can have someone else organize your event, find an organizer that offers social distancing packages. These events are designed to keep a proper distance between participants to decrease the risk of virus transmission. Moreover, organizers who offer these packages sanitize equipment beforehand to keep everyone safe.
They may also be able to offer you discounts on add-ons such as sound system rental services, decor, and lights.
2. Limit the number of participants
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has no specific guideline on how many people should be allowed to attend an event. Instead, they encourage organizers to limit participants’ contact with each other to prevent the transmission of the virus as much as possible.
That said, consider the size of your venue. Then, figure out how many people can stay six feet apart from each other given that available space.
3. Choose the right kind of activities
Now that we live in a world where making physical contact with other people can mean getting COVID-19, it is imperative that you eliminate activities that can encourage participants to touch each other.
4. Require the use of face coverings
Require staff to use masks at all times. Provide appropriate masks to staff as well as information on how to use, remove, and clean them after use. Similarly, require your attendees to wear masks during the event, except, of course, when eating and drinking. Mask-wearing is especially important when social distancing is difficult to manage or when attendees are required to raise their voice (e.g. singing, shouting, etc.)
5. Offer a virtual mode of participation
To reduce the number of attendees at your event but still allow them to participate, stream the event online so that people who cannot attend physically can still join in.
6. Place sanitizers all around the venue
Hand hygiene is extremely important in preventing the spread of the virus. To prevent attendees and staff from carrying the virus on their hands, place plenty of sanitizer pumps around the event venue. Use dispensers that can be operated with a foot pedal or has a sensor that will dispense sanitizer on people’s hands automatically.
7. Supply sinks with adequate soap
Apart from using sanitizer, handwashing is the best way to get rid of the virus from the hands. Ensure that all bathrooms in the event venue have adequate soap, paper towels, and disinfectant wipes so that attendees will be able to wash their hands frequently.
8. Serve food covered
Unfortunately, buffets are not viable during pandemic times. Neither is serving food on uncovered plates. Instead, serve food in covered, pre-packed containers that are prepared by healthy staff following hygiene guidelines. The same goes for beverages, which should be served in sealed bottles instead of in individual glasses or punch bowls.
9. Offer refunds and paid sick days
Attendees that are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may still attend the event despite feeling sick because they don’t want to waste their ticket. Employees, on the other hand, may hide symptoms so that they can still get their wage for the day.
To avoid the risk of someone attending the event despite being sick, offer full refunds to participants, and paid sick days to employees. The extra expense is worth maintaining the safety of everyone.
When planning a social event during the pandemic, keeping these points in mind will help decrease the risk for everyone involved. However, keep in mind that the risk is never zero, and if the event is not ready to accommodate everyone safely, it is better to postpone or cancel it for now.