With states like Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky slowly reopening, have we thought about sustainable events post COVID-19?
As an Event Planner in DC, I constantly grapple with the idea of having events and weddings right now. Should we? I also know that without corporate events and weddings, my business becomes nonexistent. So how can I navigate between thinking about my health and also keeping the lights on and my team paid?
I and many businesses have been hit hard due to the stay at home order. The very thought of Georgia reopening gyms and hair salons brings hope to so many. Yet in that hope, how are we protecting patrons now that we can change the door sign from closed to open?
Even in the midst of reopening parts of the United States, we still see the rise of COVID-19 infections. Without the ability to be tested, we cannot predict what the net steps looks like. We aren’t concrete on how transmittable this virus is. We are still learning about the fatality rate across various population groups. Will the heat of summer come to our aid or will it leave us wondering what next?
What does the future look like? Who could know? Yet life must go on. How do we then navigate the new normal post COVID-19 from an event perspective?
Sustainable Events Post COVID-19
Venues tend to be the first major bill for events. Picking the right venue can determine how much or less you have for remaining expenses. However, venue responsibility is more than offering tables, chairs, and a space to party for sustainable events post COVID-19.
Venues should have a plan in place to answer:
- What is the maintenance plan for things like the air conditioner
- What is the plan to monitor employees for symptoms
- Standard operating procedure updated to include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Food handling and transported to your venue and stored
These are not the only questions to ask, but questions should be asked before booking. Clients nor Event Planners have the ability to sanitize venues nor are in control of events that happen before hand.
Event Planner and Vendor Responsibility
Clients look to Event and Wedding Planners as the guiding light when it comes to their event. We are the experts.
Event experts have the duty to research best practices and have the conversations with our vendors and venue team. From those conversations are recommendations that we offer our clients.
Event Planners must make sure vendors align with their plan before recommending them to our clients. Things like:
- How are you determining the health of your employees?
- Do you have backups should you or someone on your team become sick?
- What is your cancellation policy and does it consider COVID-19 until we have a vaccine? (Note that a cancellation policy should include the cancellation of a client and the cancellation of a vendor.)
- Explain equipment sanitation and sanitation schedules. (Andrew Roby Events now requires all equipment sanitation once delivered even if you sanitized it before arriving)
- For catering companies and bakers, can you outline how food is handled and transported to the venue?
- Event Planners, how are you ensuring sanitation during the event that will help protect guests? Hand sanitizer stations? Eliminating buffet, family style receptions, and dessert stations?
These questions must be discussed with your client in full detail because it gives them the reassurance they deserve during this pandemic.
To have sustainable events post COVID-19 there has to be a level of compromise from all clients. Yes this is your event and we want the best for you. However, if what is best jeopardizes the health of you, your guests, or the vendors servicing your event or wedding, you must reconsider.
As the client it is also helpful to inform your guests of any changes that they are not normally use to seeing at events. Things like:
- Mandatory hand washing or sanitation prior to entering your event. Note: this means upon their arrival they wash/sanitize their hands. Not “I washed my hands at home,” type sanitation measures.
- Informing your guests that if they are sick to stay at home. This doesn’t mean just from COVID-19. Since we don’t have all the answers, any signs of sickness requires you to stay home.
- If your state still mandates that you wear face masks, you must inform your guests that this is a requirement at your event or wedding.
- Informing your guests of the health measures you have taken to protect them.
You as the client must also protect yourself when hosting sustainable events post COVID-19.
I have encouraged all of my clients to get event and wedding insurance. We have previously done this, but it’s more important than ever. Note that insurance companies do not currently have a COVID-19 clause. Plans protect from damages and injuries.
It’s up to you to speak with an Insurance Representative to get all of the details possible regarding what policy will protect you the most and what is included.
I also recommend that any contract you sign states that you are not liable for anyone becoming infected with COVID-19. It may even be worth the discussion regarding having guests sign waivers removing you from being responsible for COVID-19 infections.
Sustainable Events Post CODIV-19 Conclusion
Navigating sustainable events post COVID-19 will not be easy. Now is the time to get a game plan in place to protect you and your guests. This cannot be a “let’s cross that bridge when it comes,” situation. We must ensure that we are doing everything possible to have events safely.
This requires us to stay in touch with local authorities and on top of the latest information released for credible agencies. If you are considering an event or wedding in the future, I want to help you. Send me a message here to get started.
Stay tuned for my future post regarding large events post COVID-19.