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Tips and Safe Practices for Holding Live Events During COVID-19 from Two Recent Live Meetings

31 July 2020- 71 min read

As our personal and professional communities still push through the COVID-19 pandemic, there still are silver linings appearing around us. Even with surges and hot spots popping up throughout the U.S., we still see meetings being held and attendees having the desire to go to live events. With events such as a meeting for a nonprofit for scientists at the Wilde Dunes Resort in Charleston, SC to a Georgia truckers association meeting at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island, FL, we’re able to examine the best practices, see what worked, what didn’t and the best ways to navigate these uncharted waters. 

Below are a few pointers gleaned from research and interviews regarding these events and their success: 

 

  • F&B- Meals are now either individually wrapped grab and go, or staff served meals which could include buffets if handled only by staff with the correct safety set up. The extra costs that come with it and who is responsible for covering it, varies by property but as for extra staff, these costs are carried by the group. For instance, due to bartenders needing to wear gloves then change them after pouring a mixed drink, two bartenders are now necessary for a job that one could do in the pre-pandemic world. For coffee stations, no longer can attendees serve themselves, each coffee station must have its own server to maintain cleanliness 

  • Safety and Cleanliness Protocols- Based on the hotel chain’s policies and local ordinances. Follow close attention as these change on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. 

  • Physical Distancing- Rounds of 10 are now only fitting four chairs with each table six feet apart. Masks are mandatory, sanitization stations are plentiful, and best practices are posted throughout the event. To deal with a property’s space and the need to physical distance between set ups and attendees, planners are streaming live speakers or presentations from one room to another. 

 

Keys to Success: 

 

  • Close line of communication with hotel and staff from sourcing to end of event 

  • Having attendees aware of the risk and best practices to maintain 

  • Surveying attendee's willingness to meet at a live event 

  • Utilizing outdoor space 

  • Choosing a location that is drivable, not  densely populated, or a city that has been greatly impacted by the virus 

  • Use hybrid technologies to keep attendee numbers/revenue up and maintain physical distancing 

 

By implementing these new standards, the events industry has proven we can not only hold meetings during the pandemic, but also learn so we can scale up the size and interactivity faster and get back to business as usual. Our community will return stronger and safer than ever. 

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Luke Whalin

Luke Whalin

HopSkip Vice President of Eastern US. Born and raised in Philadelphia and introduced to the tech world as an intern with a Finnish laser company in New Orleans. Avid traveler, sports fan, and exerciser.

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