It’s apparent that social distancing practices will continue to stick around.

Many of us are probably excited to leave our homes, see our friends, attend parties, and gather with loved ones in a post-lockdown era. But when hybrid and in-person events start back up again, it’s important to plan your events accordingly to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved. Protect your guests and staff members by following COVID-19 regulations, such as enforcing physical distancing and mandatory face masks.

Keep reading for some tips on how to host a socially distanced event and make sure your attendees are following the rules.

Find a venue that meet your requirements
For event planners, finding the right venue is now filled with new challenges and concerns. Due to the pandemic, it’s important to consider spaces and layouts that can deliver safe event experiences. This means that venues must have some sort of COVID-19 protection plan and offer enough room for your attendees to distance from each other. Questions you may want to ask the venue coordinators include:

  • Do you offer contactless check-in?
  • What sort of cleaning guidelines are in place?
  • Are there guest-accessible disinfection stations (i.e. wipes or sanitizer) available?

Keep the event small
You want to make sure that your event has a reasonable number of in-person guests. This means following social distancing guidelines by keeping the party small. Your event should have enough space for your guests to do everything they need to do while remaining six feet apart. The space should also accommodate for furniture and other necessary props, which should be placed in a way that does not encourage close contact.

Have up-to-date knowledge of the latest restrictions
A good event planner should be prepared for any possible changes regarding government regulations. This means keeping up with public announcements, event safety guidelines, planning documents, and speaking with contacts to better understand the COVID-19 situation and how it impacts client needs.
Consider reviewing other socially distanced events to take note of elements that have been modified in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines. You can even pull ideas from restaurant safety guidelines for more details on food safety, seating, and other recommendations.

Everyone should wear a mask
Face masks are one of the best ways to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. In fact, many governing states and cities require guests to wear a mask when entering indoor public spaces. According to the World Health Organization, “ masks are a key measure to suppress transmission and save lives.” As such, your socially distanced event should require the use of masks among all staff and guests. Provide your team members with information on proper use, removal, and washing of masks, and encourage attendees ahead of the event to bring and use masks.

Cleaning and disinfection
When you’re planning a socially distanced event, consider implementing several strategies to maintain a safe environment. This includes developing a cleaning plan or schedule, such as disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (countertops, payment terminals, door handles, hand railings, elevator buttons etc.) regularly. Consider closing shared areas such as water fountains and opt for individual drink options instead.

Encouraging attendee compliance
It’s important for your guests to follow the rules, which is why your event guidelines should be specific and communicated beforehand. The rules should indicate what your expectations are, such as mandatory face masks, and should include all the necessary COVID-19 precautions that you will take to ensure the health and safety of attendees. To encourage compliance, mention the serious risks of COVID-19 and why the guidelines should exist in the first place. Lastly, leave a contact number for guests in case they have questions or need clarification.

COVID-19 has presented unique and difficult challenges to almost every trade, including the events industry. Now more than ever, the wellbeing of your attendees must be considered top priority when planning an event. By taking extra precautions with your venue choice, guidelines, and disinfection sites, your socially distanced event could still be a major success. Despite these unprecedented times, events will continue to serve as a valuable channel for learning, networking, business outcomes, and other meaningful gatherings.