As an event planner, your life hasn’t been easy over the past few months. In these uncertain times, it's tough to figure out whether you should cancel your upcoming event(s), even ones well into 2021.
To help you make the right decision, ask yourself these questions to get a clear idea of whether canceling your event is the right move.
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1) What are the rules in your area regarding COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders?
You’ll want to make sure you’re abiding by your state’s regulations for gatherings. Click here for state-by-state guidance and resources on the coronavirus.
2) Are rules on COVID-19 and events changing in the near future?
It’s important to be flexible. Listen to announcements from your state government to get an idea of when rules on gathering size are expected to change. Will your event make that mark? My guess, probably not for a while, but continue to stay updated.
3) What’s your crowd size?
While you may have had an unlimited number of tickets available in the past, this may be the time to downsize your event. If you can’t do this or social distancing during your event is impossible, it’s time to cancel.
4) What’s the size of your venue?
Can you spread people out and live stream speakers into separate rooms to maintain social distancing and crowd size rules? If so, you may be able to go ahead with your event. However, make sure you assess all the risks first before moving forward.
5) Are people traveling to get to your event?
If so, it’s time to cancel or host virtually.
When people are traveling, they’re increasing the likelihood of COVID-19 being transmitted at your event and community. If only some of your attendees are coming from far away, you may want to offer them the option to attend the event virtually.
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6) Do you cater to a high-risk population?
If many of your attendees are over the age of 65 or otherwise at high risk for complications from the coronavirus, postponing is the right thing to do.
If most of your attendees are not in this category, you may want to offer refunds to people who feel that their health may be compromised by attending the event.
7) Is physical touch a part of your event?
If the event is heavily focused on games, attendees interacting with one another, etc., it makes sense to cancel or postpone to another time. If you can keep your event touch-free, you’ll be less likely to deal with the spread of germs and other risks.
8) What’s the food situation for your event?
If you’re planning on doing self-serve, or you have dining tables in which people are seated close to one another, postpone.
Social distancing is key when it comes to eating, as people are at higher risk of transmitting and acquiring germs when they’re eating and drinking. If you shorten your event so that food isn’t necessary, you may be able to continue on depending on your timeframe.
9) Can you provide the necessary elements to keep your attendees safe?
You must provide masks, hand sanitizer, and plenty of places for your guests to wash their hands with warm water as well as social distancing rules.
If you’re not able to give guests what they need to stay safe, it’s important that you cancel your event until you can.
10) Are you in an area with a high rate of COVID-19?
If so, it’s time to cancel or postpone. You’ll need to keep an eye on the spread of the virus in your area as the event draws closer and rely on recommendations from health officials in order to make a final decision.
At the end of the day, if there is any risk in hosting your event, it’s recommended you cancel. It’s easy to postpone and plan for another date.
COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere. It’s the event industry's job to keep the safety of their guests as their top priority until this pandemic is over.