It’s official: coronavirus has cemented its front-and-center place in national news. As an event planner, this means you have tough decisions to make. If you’re in an area in which large gatherings are still permitted, you may choose to hold your event although it's not recommended.
Follow these tips to keep your attendees as safe as possible when fighting any germ season.
#1 Talk to your employees
First and foremost, you don’t want employees around your guests if they’re sick.
Don’t encourage sick employees to push through and come to work. If an employee tells you they aren’t feeling well, send them home without any hesitation. Even if it's overactive allergies or a cold, it's better to be safe than sorry always!
#2 Reach out to your guests
Offer them a refund if they need to cancel their RSVP due to illness, or if they feel uncomfortable in a large group setting.
It's important to let them know they aren't forced to attend, instead they can get their money back due to any sickness they face. If not, guests will feel more obligated to try and attend your event, spreading their germs to others.
#3 Up your cleaning game
If you haven’t already hired a cleaning crew, do so now.
Ask them to constantly be cleaning bathrooms, drink areas, and other frequently touched items, such as door knobs throughout the event.
Other tips for keeping a clean event:
- Keep doors open when possible, minimizing guests touching door knobs and handles
- Deep clean after every event
- Keep hand sanitizing stations around the event
- Offer wet wipes where people can wipe down their seats or equipment before use
#4 Resist the urge to shake hands
Set the example as the leader of the event by greeting guests in a way that doesn’t involve touching. Encourage your staff to do the same when interacting with guests.
Instead, you can greet guests with:
- A wave
- A head nod/small gesture
- Hand them marketing material (program, flyer, business card, etc.)
- Pat them on the back
Control and manage all refunds
You can apply refunds directly through
#5 Consider going food-free
When food is involved, the chances are higher that your guests will be exposed to germs, especially if buffet style. If possible, consider eliminating food for the event or sticking to small appetizers and the basics of what you need to get done.
Also, including water refill stations is a great way to keep guests hydrated and encourage healthy habits at your event to boost immune systems.
#6 Shorten the event
While you and your guests are excited about the event, shortening the total time can lessen the likelihood that you and your guests will come into contact with germs.
#7 Stick to outdoor venues
The circulation of fresh air has been shown to decrease the likelihood of added germs being trapped inside.
If you can move your event outdoors, do so. If you need to hold the event indoors, open doors and windows to allow fresh air to flow through.
#8 Space out your guests
Move to a larger event space within the same building if possible.
The CDC recommends that guests are given at least six feet of breathing room from other attendees. Do your best to respect this recommendation, even though it may make the room feel less cozy.
#9 No refills
Encourage guests to get a new cup each time they need a drink, rather than re-using an old cup.
As mentioned above, offer water refill stations and reusable water bottles if they don't have one. If they have their own cups, create a way they can mark their cups so they don't get them confused with others at a table.
#10 Set up hand sanitizing stations
If you can get your hands on hand sanitizer, make sure you place bottles in many places throughout your event. Your guests should not have to go on a hunt for sanitizer.
Set them in high traffic areas or right after guests need to touch something.
If you hold your event, your guests will appreciate the extra precautions you’re taking to keep them safe.
Guests will likely expect communication from you explaining whether the event is still on, so be sure to reach out to them sooner rather than later. If your event is in limbo, it’s ok to let guests know that as well - they’ll know to keep their eye out for an update.
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