COVID-19 & Event Risk
A look at what the event industry will require when reopening later this year
Since mid-March Covid-19 shut down the whole event industry and the sudden standstill has left these venues dormant. As lockdown restrictions ease, other businesses and industries have been able to open but events will be the last the start. For now, the advice is clear, ‘avoid crowded places’ but let’s prepare for the upcoming months and reopening of this multi-billion pound sector.
The Government has promised a rescue package for the arts sector, smaller venues, freelances and others to try to protect the industry from collapse and has promised to lay out a clear opening strategy later this month. There are already a number of guidelines and measures in place for the industry from organisations that have been working alongside the government and conducting their own research.
You will already have, or will be in the process of developing or updating policies in the following areas for Covid-19:
• Cleaning and disinfection protocols
• Staffing and Welfare
• Distancing and Capacity
• Personal Protective Equipment
• Communications and Contact Tracing
• Health / Temperature Checks for Staff and Visitors
Logging each incident or event, and the details around it allows you to gather accurate data to monitor and report on your venue whilst shaping policies and procedures. Whilst also giving you the peace of mind that you are able to look back at the details of any incident, or a particular event, should a review, certain information or investigation be required.
Create a Risk Assessment or COVID Checklist form for each event
Running a checklist prior to each event will help keep control measures consistent and encourage the following of them. Here are just a few examples of different areas within venues that need consideration and what type of questions can be recorded in IRS Pro.
This should not be taken as a definitive list, we’ve simply chosen 4 key areas as examples!
It is clear that social distancing is going to be around for some months. Encouragement of social distancing and mask wearing should be clearly visible and extra staff champions should be in place to enforce rules when necessary. Knowing who is coming you’re your venue is also important for tracing, ensure there is an attendee list. Possible pre-event checks to add to your IRS forms are:
Is there appropriate space to allow for distancing? Is there tape on the floor and appropriate signage? Are there staff members to encourage and, when necessary, enforce distancing? Is there hand sanitizer in place upon entry? Can guests be given different arrival times to ease the flow of traffic? Have guests been informed to use QR codes only for entry?
Keeping hygiene up in these spaces is clearly important and encouraging the public to do the same. Cleaning more often and better levels of personal hygiene helps break the chain of infection. Signs should clearly state that hands should be sanitised upon entry to the toilets to decrease contamination on surfaces and again to wash hands thoroughly with hot soapy water afterwards. Restrooms should be checked often, your venue will no doubt have its own custom schedule for more checks and cleaning.
Check that clear, concise signage is in place. How often are the restrooms being checked and cleaned? Is a staff member monitoring capacity? Or are some cubicles closed to avoid congestion inside the restroom? Is there safe, lidded disposal available for wipes?
All staff should know what to do if a visitor, staff member or contractor show symptoms before, during or after the event. Again, your venue will already have these processes in place, but it is important to recap this information regularly to ensure all team members know what to do.
The person should not attended the venue at all if they are showing any symptoms or have been in contact with a person that has recently tested positive.
Is the venue checking temperatures upon entry to this event? Have emails been sent prior to the event to all attendees with the above information?
During the Event
It may be that a staff member or guest informs you they feel they have began experiencing symptoms or feel ill at any time during the event. All staff should know what to do should this happen and staff should be encouraged to wear masks. The government have recommended to have an isolation area be nominated specifically for this type of situation so the person can be taken away from public spaces and await any paramedics if necessary.
Where is the medical area for suspected cases? Who is the chief first aider/medical point of call for this event? Were the public given a number to call in a pre-event email in case of emergencies during the event?
Following an event it may well be possible that a staff member or visitor reports to you a positive test result. The government advice is clear – anyone who has been in contact with a person whom has tested positive, must self-isolate. There is the government track and trace app to help with this, but ethically as a venue you should inform the staff and visitors of the event so they can monitor for symptoms, self-isolate and get tested if they believe they had contact with that person.
Did anyone report a positive test up to 14 days after the event? If so, were communications sent out that a person at the event tested positive? Were staff encouraged to get tested following this? Has the room or arena been deep cleaned following the positive report?
Food and Drink
The possibility of contamination increases greatly when measures around food and drink are eased. It is anticipated that venues will initially allow single serve, takeaway and/or prepackaged foods for eating in designated, spaced areas. Great examples of this are sandwiches, bento boxes and lunchboxes. Restaurants are now able to seat guests, albeit at a largely reduced capacity with the distancing in place and your venue may choose to do the same but what’s important is recording what was decided for each event and ensuring it’s in place.
Is food and drink available at this event? What service is in place: takeaway, standing vs eat in? Are seating areas/tables and chairs spaced out or cordoned off? Are payments cashless? Is there signage in place in these areas? How often are these areas cleaned?
And that’s it! There’s so much involved with event planning and all the policies around it so this just hits the surface, but if you’ve managed to muddle through this blog post, thank you for taking the time the read it. I hope there was something useful in there and stay tuned for further posts.
Resources – gov.uk, MIA-UK, Event Industry Council
A Little Note
It has been a rough few months for everyone with the current pandemic but the events industry has been hit particularly hard. We wish our customers and everyone in the sector all the best with gearing up towards re-opening and lifting restrictions. Stay safe.
If you want to find out more about IRS Pro, please contact us or request a demo via the website