COVID-19 will stay part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Consequently, outdoor events will gain in importance as spring and summer approach.
Over the past year, remote communication and events have become omnipresent. However, most people now also have a newfound appreciation for in-person interaction.
For example, one study found that 83% of Gen Z now rate personal interactions much more highly than before the dawn of social distancing.
Other studies highlight the detrimental effect of the lack of human interaction on productivity and business relationships.
Consequently, outdoor events can offer sorely needed opportunities for human contact in relatively safe conditions, with infection risks 20 times lower than indoors.
Still, if you’re planning an outdoor event, there are safety standards you need to keep in mind – no matter if it’s a company mixer, a business expo, or a networking event.
Here are five tips on how to plan a COVID-safe outdoor event.
1 – Find a safe venue
First off, you have to pinpoint an appropriate outdoor venue for your event.
What sort of venue is right for you will depend on the type of event you’re holding, and on the crowd size you’re expecting.
To help you decide, there are various COVID accreditations and labels for venues.
If you’re considering using your own premises, check safer events guidelines and recommendations to see if this is realistic in terms of safety.
2 – Make safety a priority when hiring help
Setting up an outdoor event involves contributions by countless different professionals. Caterers. Sound and lighting companies. Professionals to set up an outdoor stage for presentations.
When vetting candidates for all of these services, ask about safety policies – for both their own staff, and event attendees. Masks and social distancing measures should be a minimum standard.
If someone reacts negatively or even aggressively to this question, scratch them off your list.
3 – Distribute safety supplies
Set up strategic distribution points for safety supplies such as hand sanitizer and masks.
Not only will people who forgot to bring their own supplies be grateful. Having such visible and actionable reminders of safety measures also reassures attendees.
And, of course, people actually using these safety supplies minimizes infection risks.
4 – Designate spaces and distances
Post social distancing cues at exit and entry points, as well as in any other spots where queues or groups of people could form.
Set up furniture with sufficient distance between podiums, chairs, and tables. Consider putting up perspex dividers if you have several speakers standing beside each other.
In addition, you can stagger arrival and departure times to help people keep their distance.
5 – Choose the right food and drink
Buffets promote queues and aggregations of people. It’s better to opt for bento-style catering, where attendees receive complete, pre-packaged meals.
Use disposable cups, plates, and cutlery. While not environmentally friendly, it’s the safer option during a pandemic.
6 – Implement screening
Finally, consider screening attendees on the day of the event. You can either ask them to sign a self-declaration of health or do a quick temperature check using infrared thermometers.
Another option are rapid self-tests, which are increasingly becoming available.
Outdoor events are a safer way for people to interact professionally as spring and summer approach. With the tips above, you’ll be able to boost COVID safety – so that every attendee can benefit from face-to-face time with minimum risk.