Live Event COVID Policies Overview
Bishop-McCann has implemented several changes to remain successful in this post-pandemic world. 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 and mitigate the risk of an outbreak. To assure our clients that 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 of social distancing and mask use in transportation, registration, and meeting room sets while stressing the impact this plays on the health and wellbeing of our guests. An alternative greeting to handshaking was put in place to minimize contact and maintain social distancing; elbow bumps and foot taps are the new handshake. Staff members also understand the importance and seriousness of staying home if feeling unwell, and if they begin to feel symptomatic 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, temperature checks are administered to the on-site team and vendor partners, in addition to a wellness kit being 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-touch points, such as door handles, desks, railings, and elevator buttons. All high-touch AV equipment (microphones, iPad check-in stations, 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 local COVID guidelines must be considered for the client’s preferred city. Another issue that is considered when selecting a venue is the structure’s ventilation quality. Some important questions to ask are the ventilation techniques, how frequently filters are changed, how freely air flows in the building, and the set temperature of the meeting rooms.
When attendees arrive at the event, they will be greeted by masked staff from a safe and required six-foot distance, followed by a quick check of their temperature. Temperature checks can be administered at the first entry point of the meeting space, and attendees will be given a colored ribbon each day to signify the temperature check was completed. Masks and gloves will be available for attendees at check-in. To further facilitate attendee safety, participants can be given colored wristbands to divide them into groups. These designated groups will help with socially distanced room departures, meal seating, and contact tracing, if necessary. All efforts will be made to modify room capacity and arrange for best distancing practices. We also anticipate seeing some clients elect to have all attendees tested for COVID pre-and post-event.
Food and Beverage
It should come as no surprise that food and beverage functions will require substantial changes and creativity from the days of standard, double-sided buffets. While serving plated meals was once mostly considered for elegant evening functions, we’re planning to see breakfasts, lunches, and dinners served covered and plated. For those still opting for buffets, expect one-sided lines and attendants on hand to serve your attendees. If it fits within your agenda, you can also consider pre-packaged items for a grab-and-go meal. With that option, be sure to provide enough in case attendees grab more than one item. All servers, bartenders, and set-up teams are required to wear disposable gloves and face masks. By adhering to these guidelines, enhanced food safety and hygiene protocols will be implemented at all levels.
As with any event, communication is the key to success. Make sure your attendees, vendor partners, and teammates all know and understand the guidelines prior to arriving on site. By communicating these measures, guests and those involved with putting on the event will understand our guidelines. Safety measures, travel guidance, and hygiene tips will be provided to attendees in the “Know Before You Go” information. Upon arrival on site, attendees will see an increase in signage that communicates the importance of hand sanitization and social distancing. Additionally, assigned seating in sessions will be encouraged each day. Speakers and on-site vendors will be informed of our policies and must comply with Bishop-McCann’s additional safety and sanitation measures.