10 Newly Normals For Producing a COVID Safe Onsite Event

Onsite events are coming back and we are here for it!

However, many things can’t - and shouldn’t - ‘go back to normal’. Instead, there will be many new normals when it comes to producing and attending events.

The Delta variant is still circulating in the United States and the globe. The COVID-19 vaccine is still being rolled out and the vaccination status of event attendees could vary dramatically. All of us in the public, as well as event organizers, should be keeping an eye on the current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for Activities, Gatherings & Holidays.

COVID Safe Graphic Collage

We have some new normals that you can expect for anyone planning an onsite production that takes COVID measures into consideration.

1. All you can do is control the controllables.

With all the continued uncertainty brought upon by the pandemic, producers and the events industry must continue to do what we do best; take everything in our stride, and focus on what can be done. A strong level of understanding and communication of established safety protocols, is one thing that you can control.

2. Selecting an onsite venue for your event will take more careful consideration.

There will now be elements of a venue that you will have to understand that you didn’t need to before the pandemic. More detailed knowledge about outdoor spaces, capacities, traffic flow, air filtration systems (including MERV numbers) and cleaning processes, will need to be understood to fully align the event with the safety protocols.

3. You’ll start to understand what a MERV number is.

Basically, the higher the MERV rating (from 1 to 16) the better that filter is at catching certain types of particles. It will be a solid go-to number for understanding the quality of a buildings’ filtration system. MERV 13 or higher is recommended for viruses.

4. Minimizing contact will be done in smart ways, wherever possible.

These new contactless norms aren’t just about maximizing the safety of the attendees, they will also maximize the production process of the event and the overall guest experience.

Here are some examples:

  • Pen and paper check-ins replaced with a QR code to a digital registration system.
  • Hands-free soap and hand sanitizer dispensers provided throughout.
  • Digital gifting and merch with drop shipping to guest’s homes.
  • Any paper handouts will be available in digital form.
  • Cashless payments with money transfers done by card only.
  • Greater use of QR codes, such as menus and forms.
  • Assigned seating and more distance between seats.
  • A custom-built app where guests can find all the information that they could possibly need.

5. A production will have a comprehensive safety protocol.

Safety guidelines and standards should be created or updated to include an event’s official stance on COVID-19 measures, and how they should be handled.

Here are the main COVID-19 measures to outline:

  • Testing and timing requirements
  • Vaccination requirements
  • Symptom and temperature checks
  • Personal protective equipment usage, including masks
  • Social distancing
  • Reporting any illnesses (prior and post event)

6. Communication prior to an event will ramp up.

Safety measures will need to be way more accessible, distributed and visible than pre-pandemic. They should be given more prominence on event microsites, email invitations, social media ect.

7. Registration details will need to be updated.

You should include questions about the attendee being vaccinated (with proof provided) as well as them checking a box to indicate having read, understood and agreed to any new safety protocols for the event.

8. Onsite testing will require a signed HIPAA Release Form.

If the production will have onsite testing, in order for you to have access to those test results, each attendee and staff member taking a test must sign a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Release Form. Just something to consider for the registration and pre-event communications.

9. You’re responsible for communicating any relevant information post-event.

If it comes to your attention of a COVID case at the event - whether it was through onsite testing or elsewhere - making this known to all the attendees via an email blast is important. This way attendees know that they should go get tested.

10. Vaccine passes will be required more and more.

It is rapidly becoming a requirement that all attendees and staff need to be 100% vaccinated in order to be onsite. This will include providing proof of both vaccinations. Here at Happily, among the safety requirements for our staff working on onsite productions is that they must be 100% vaccinated.