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Most countries are reopening on a phased basis as part of their recovery from this crippling pandemic of Covid-19 coronavirus. Whilst we are still awaiting specific guidelines for social gatherings, based on how things are developing locally and internationally we have a few thoughts on the future of events post covid 19.
First, venues will need to have sanitation zones set-up outside their entrance to greet patrons as a requirement to wash/sanitize their hands before proceeding inside. We have seen a similar set-up at most if not all of our groceries and shopping establishments and it is the first stage to a cleaner atmosphere inside. Piggybacking off this, hand sanitizers will need to be placed around the venue for use whilst inside. We have a hunch hand sanitisers may double as guest tokens for events.
It will be important to also have frequent cleaning of touch points – door handles, counter tops etc during the event.
Venue size in relation to the intended size of the guest list will therefore be even more important now. Venues that offer more elbow room whilst seated and general space for attendees to move around with “physical distancing” based on your guest count will become preferred options.
Second, the table setting will now be the other largest area of focus for seated events. Having been inspired by an international event designer, we have shown how tables can be set to make your guests comfortable while still adhering to the recommended safety regimes. While we may oftentimes lean on individual vendors for aid in this area (eg decorators), it is always best for us to have some level of information as an event manager to oversee any issue that needs addressing. This is a diagram to help you visualise the possibilities. Ideally, 4 persons max, may be allowed on a table, however, for family events (eg weddings) seating persons from the same household together will help work out those numbers and also help with that comfort level at the event.
It will also be best to limit the touch points laid out on the table through decor items.
Third, the food and beverage service has been subject to in depth scrutiny with one of the suggestions being that buffets are now a no go for events. We understand why, however, we believe that these buffets when used will have to be manned by staff who would have had the necessary sanitization done before approaching the food table in their natural preparedness to serve. The point is to limit the shared touch points for persons in attendance. Having servers behind the buffet will help manage this. Alternatively, plated service for will no longer be reserved for “fine dining” experiences. How your food is served will affect the timeline of the event flow so this is something that will have to be kept in mind.
Cocktails receptions, in particular, will probably need to be changed slightly as eating from one big platter will no longer be safe. Each person will need to be catered for individually with a ‘one-touch’ system through plated service, limiting any second takes with any one item and its’ respective condiments. Condiments might just be a thing of the past.
Walk up bars will either be eliminated or come with a queuing system to assist with safe service. Trendy disposable (and eco friendly of course) utensils may also see an increase in use depending on the nature of the event.
Space allocated to food and beverage service will also have to be increased accordingly based on guest count.
Fourth, most importantly, will be the size of the gathering. As we went through the first 3 points, this was a recurring factor. We believe for social events, smaller and micro-events (50 or less) will be a starting point for now as it will be safer to manage than larger events. Micro-events will be trending for a while, particularly as it pertains to weddings and any other special events.
The general rule going forward will be “the smaller, the safer, the better”. However, as it relates to corporate events, this is admittedly tricky as the size of the company will be taken into consideration greatly. Ultimately, this will be decided on a case by case basis, factoring the size of the venue, the layouts that are possible and the intended guest count.
STAFF & GUESTS SAFETY
Branded masks, gloves for guest facing staff will become a thing, and temperature checks for everyone entering may now be something we become accustom to. Safety briefings at the beginning of events may now include measures for Covid-19 along with the evacuation and emergency procedures normally shared.
It will be important for frequent reminders to be made during the event. The use of a professional MC will be recommended to assist to help manage how this information is communicated. Finding light and fun ways to effectively remind persons will help manage the atmosphere of the event. Supporting signage will also be useful. At the end of the day, if attending the event feels like a chore, then your attendee experience will be negatively affected.
This will take some getting use to for everyone! Planners, attendees, vendors and stakeholders. This industry though is built on the foundation of finding a way to make things work so we are confident that this energy will go into overdrive as we find new ways towards the future of events.
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