As COVID-19 vaccines are slowly rolled out and organizations start to plan for the return of in-person events, meeting professionals should consider protocols needed for in-person events to resume safely, including rigorous plans to prevent, detect and respond to potential outbreaks.
On a recent episode of “Eventful: The Podcast for Meeting Professionals,” Eurofins President Sean Murray and ITA Group Vice President of Event Management Sarah Haines discuss how early detection and transparent communication are essential.
Assessing the Risk of Your In-Person Event
When determining how and when to operate a live event, there is much to consider.
- First, look at current recommendations from the U.S. State Department, CDC, WHO and local authorities
- Next, take into account destination considerations, potential supplier service impacts, timing and audience demographics
- Lastly, determine the perception of holding the event and your attendees’ confidence in traveling, staying in a hotel and meeting in a group
It’s important to be flexible. Can your event objectives continue to be met with restrictions? If not, assess if you could you achieve the same impact in a safer destination, different dates or a different event format.
We understand there’s a lot of uncertainty around COVID-19, your events, and the health of your team and your attendees. Regulations are changing constantly, so keeping your finger on the pulse is critical right now. That’s why working closely with your suppliers can help address the ever-changing standards while your team focuses on providing attendees with a memorable event.
Operational Considerations to Prevent, Detect & Respond to Health & Safety Risks
Once you’ve decided to move forward with your in-person event, examine all aspects from an attendee and event planner perspective. Tailor your strategies and guidelines to mitigate health risks associated with your specific program and venues. Some best practices we recommend:
- Prepare COVID-19 sampling/testing protocols and action plans to detect potential risks and monitor the effectiveness of cleaning procedures
- Develop health risk mitigation protocols based on agenda, crowd flow, room set-ups, food service, participant demographics, destination guidelines, venues/properties and communications strategy
- Conduct rapid on-site COVID-19 testing for quick results (within 24 hours if possible)
- Use surface-testing swabs to determine presence of the virus at the pre-event site visit and throughout the duration of the event
- Offer wearable technology to help with contact tracing and maintaining safe social distances
- Validate and audit venue protocols immediately prior to the event
What Should You Do If a Meeting Attendee Tests Positive for COVID-19?
In the podcast, Sarah Haines shares how ITA Group is handling mitigation, detection and response to COVID-19 ,as well as the importance of clear communication to make sure everyone knows what to do in any situation.
Beyond enacting measures to mitigate risks for participants, what will you do if an attendee tests positive for COVID-19 on site?
Sean Murray, president of Eurofins, a testing laboratory company that provides on-site COVID testing for workplaces and corporate events, recently faced that question when his team had to respond to a positive COVID test at one of its own events. In the pod cast, Murray discusses how his organization responded to this health emergency and how Eurofins is delivering its testing services to the wider meeting and incentive market including through Eurofins partnership with ITA Group.
Listen to the full, in-depth conversation on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts.