This is a contributed post from Maria.
Hosting safe meetings and events is imperative during this time as the world transitions from nearly two years of abnormal pandemic circumstances to a semblance of new normal. Organizers know that their guests’ safety remains a priority, and any mistakes on their part could lead to the creation of a super-spreader event that leads to an additional wave of infections.
Safe meetings and events are imperative, and compromising on public health regulations and protocols could render such gatherings a potential health hazard to event staff and attendees. Here are some steps to ensure that you host meetings and events successfully without compromising anyone’s well-being.
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Despite a return to in-person gatherings, some people are still not comfortable attending them. They prefer to continue attending these events online using available technology. Therefore, organizers need to ensure that they offer options for in-person and remote attendance of meetings and events.
Video conferencing technology has allowed people to remain connected to colleagues, customers, friends, and family members despite being unable to leave home. It provided a way for them to attend events and meetings they might not otherwise have reached in pre-pandemic conditions.
Professionals who cannot make long international journeys to participate in corporate events can now do so without leaving home. Organizers should be cognizant of the value of virtual attendance, securing the technological capability to make it possible without hiccups and disruptions.
Long lines at self-service buffet meals remain a risky endeavor that could lead to a cluster of Covid cases. With so many people touching utensils and being near communal food sources, it is unsurprising that the virus could spread easily. Organizers need catering strategies to ensure that this does not happen.
A buffet-style meal is still possible, provided organizers have staff members serving the food and keeping the area sanitized. By minimizing how many people touch the food, safety is enhanced.
However, most organizers are avoiding this risk altogether by:
- Offering menu-only options and pre-packaging meals according to strict hygiene regulations
- Instead of having water jugs and glasses, providing sealed bottles is safer
- Packet-form spices and sauces prevent people from touching bottles and shakers
Caterers need to follow food preparation protocols, limiting how many workers have direct access to it during cooking and packaging.
Clearly defined rules
Attendees should understand the organizer’s rules before they arrive at a meeting or event. Communication directly with guests or via social media platforms is essential. Guests and attendees will be unhappy and frustrated if they only find out about the regulations upon their arrival.
Rules that organizers might implement include:
- Stringent social distancing measures
- Mandatory mask-wearing
- A seating plan that people must comply with to make contact tracing easier (for events with a set guest list)
- Demarcating how far people may stand from one another
- Using a room layout that maximizes the distance between attendees
Sanitizing surfaces is an effective way to prevent a Covid outbreak. Event and meeting organizers should ensure that venue workers keep communal surfaces like doorknobs, toilets, light switches sanitized, using the necessary products. Staff members should have a set schedule to ensure that frequent sanitization occurs.
Hand sanitizing should also be a priority for event and meeting organizers. Guests and workers must have access to hand sanitizing products when they enter the venue, in the bathrooms, and at stations where they can clean their hands throughout the venue whenever they deem it necessary.