I Produced a Live Event During COVID-19 and Lived to Tell the Tale

"COVID may be kicking the sh*t out of the events industry in Canada right now, but we’re here to tell you that with a little creativity and a lot of planning, staging an event during a pandemic is possible." We did it. After six long months of having almost no event-related work on the docket, we did it. We produced a live event during a pandemic and people actually had fun, felt safe, and didn’t get sick. It was no small feat. It seemed like everyday in the lead-up to the event there was a new hurdle to overcome, a new policy to review and implement, or a new question or concern to tackle. How Did We do it!? Here are some of the key things we did in advance of the event and onsite to make sure we met all of the COVID-19 protocols, while at the same time provided a memorable experience for event attendees: #1 – Know the Rules There was a lot of reading and clarification on how the COVID-19 rules related to mass gatherings would affect our outdoor event for 100 people. The information was constantly changing and this necessitated a daily commitment to stay on top of the latest regulations. #2 – Communicate the Rules The event website and several pre-event emails to registered attendees outlined how we were applying the COVID-19 regulations at the event. We made it very clear to anyone who was considering attending and to those who had already registered that these protocols would be in place and were non-negotiable. Signage at the event was very visible and our pre-event social media content included reminders about the rules. For example, mask wearing was mandatory for everyone even though the event was outdoors and we sprayed everyone’s hands with hand sanitizer at various different checkpoints. This was advertised in advance and, as a result, every single event attendee showed up wearing a mask. #3 – Do a Dry Run We did a dry run rehearsal to re-enact the arrival of guests. We ran through a comprehensive plan for placing people in marked areas for each social bubble, and to time everything with military precision. We decided the shorter and snappier the program was, the less risk. We had 90 minutes to get people in and out and our dry run allowed us to work out the kinks in advance. #4 – Clean Stuff We cleaned and sanitized all touch points – pens and microphones and event buttons. We also wiped down the bubble wands that were handed out to the kids at the event. #5 – Get it in Writing There were lots of approvals required – from the venues and from the local public health authority. We made sure to have all of the approvals on all aspects of the event in writing. And, we had back-up copies of the permissions printed out and with us onsite in case there were any discrepancies. #6 – Choose Your Suppliers Wisely We strategically picked event suppliers who were willing to go above and beyond to ensure we offered a safe event experience. Many of these suppliers had to bend over backwards to comply and they did so willingly – no questions asked. #7 – Have an Emergency Response Plan Interestingly enough, through the entire planning process, we were never asked to provide an Emergency Response Plan, but we had one. We had a detailed one in fact. It covered every potential scenario that could occur and we made sure all of our event volunteers were briefed on it and all of our client’s staff (in addition to our own team) were well-versed. Everyone Had Fun! Despite all of these precautions and the obsessive attention to detail combined with the military precision of the event logistics, our event guests still had fun! No one complained about all of the extra protocols and we received an overwhelmingly amount of positive feedback. Survey Says …. 100% of event attendees say they would recommend the event to someone else! 96% of event attendees indicated they felt safe at the event! We received 4.4 stars out of 5 on staging a fun, informative, and uplifting event! Gotta Love a Good Event Testimonial Here’s what some of the event attendees had to say about the event: The COVID-19 protocols in place were excellent. I personally had to remind a few participants to keep their distance because it was hard to be together, but apart 😊. However, it was a wonderful event given the circumstance. The bubbles were an excellent idea and kept our kiddos busy during the walk. Great job!!!!’ Thanks for organizing the event and setting up family bubbles. It was great! ‘Our family really enjoyed the event! Thanks for organizing it so well.’ It’s Doable COVID may be kicking the sh*t out of the events industry in Canada right now, but we’re here to tell you that with a little creativity and a lot of planning, staging an event during a pandemic is possible. And, you can have fun with it too.

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