Live Event COVID Policies Overview
In the wake of the pandemic, Bishop-McCann has implemented several changes to remain successful in this new era of events. In addition to increasing our knowledge and production of virtual events, we have also had to determine a set of COVID policies to put in place for clients who are seeking hybrid or live events. In order to provide the safest possible experience for both our clients’ attendees and our own staff, we created specific policies regarding how to handle on-site events safely. We know how valuable meeting in person is, but we also did not want to rush the return to live meetings. To ensure that all aspects of our live programs are handled with the greatest care and consideration for those involved, we changed how those events are produced. Below is a brief outline of the various measures we are implementing to mitigate the risks of COVID.
First, we trained our teams on the importance and proper process of handwashing and mask use while stressing the impact this plays in the health and wellbeing of our guests. Additionally, an alternative greeting to hand shaking was put in place to minimize contact and maintain social distancing. Staff members also understand the importance of staying home if feeling unwell, and if they begin to feel ill or run a temperature while at the event, they are required to quarantine in their room and receive a COVID test. Affected employees are unable to return to work without a negative test result. When checking in the on-site team and vendor partners, temperature checks are administered and a wellness kit is provided, which includes hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, gloves, and a face mask.
Another requirement for our live events is increased hand sanitizing stations. These stations will be included in all public spaces and will be especially focused on high traffic areas. Sanitizing wipes will be provided, so that commonly touched surfaces can be self-cleaned. Additionally, the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing will be increased in public areas, with a heavy focus on high-tough points, such as door handles, desks, railings, and elevator buttons. All high-touch AV equipment (microphones, monitors, lecterns, remote control, headsets, flipcharts, etc.) will also be sanitized frequently. To facilitate these changes, agenda planning will include longer breaks to allow hotel staff to effectively clean all meeting spaces.
When sourcing a venue for a live program, current COVID conditions must be considered when the client requests a city for site selection. Another issue that is considered when selecting a venue is the structure’s ventilation quality. Some questions that must be asked are what type of ventilation is utilized, how frequently filters are changed, how freely air flows in the building, and what temperatures rooms are set at.
When attendees arrive at the event, they will be greeted by masked staff who are required to stand six feet away from guests. Temperature checks will be administered at the first entry point of the meeting space, and attendees will be given a colored ribbon each day to indicate the temperature check was completed. Different colored wristbands will also be given to individuals grouped together to ensure room departures are smooth and socially distanced. In addition, these designated groups will reduce exposure to others and help with contact tracing. All efforts will be made to modify room capacity and arrange seating for best distancing practices. Masks and gloves will be available for attendees at check-in. The client may also elect to have all attendees tested for COVID pre- and post-event.
Food and Beverage
For food and beverage, we suggest that clients utilize plated options when possible, and all plated meals will be served covered. If the client requires a buffet service, hotel staff will serve food from the buffet with gloved hands, eliminating self-service. When practical, high-quality packaged items will be utilized for all buffets for grab-and-go meals. All servers, bartenders, and set up teams are required to wear disposable gloves and face masks. Individual-use condiments and sealed beverage dispensers rather than pitchers will be utilized exclusively. By adhering to these guidelines, enhanced food safety and hygiene protocols will be implemented at all levels.
By communicating these measures, we want to ensure that both the guests and those involved with putting on the event understand our guidelines. Safety measures, travel guidance, and hygiene tips will be provided to attendees in the “Know Before You Go” information. Attendees will also be encouraged to stay in the same seat when possible. In addition, increased signage will be used to communicate the importance and proper process of hand washing, along with signage regarding social distancing. To ensure compliance with all safety measures, speakers and on-site vendors will be informed of our polices and must comply with Bishop-McCann’s additional safety and sanitation measures.