When it comes to hosting events in today’s day and age, indoor gatherings simply aren’t practical. But there’s always the option of having an outdoor event, which is considered far safer and is much easier to control. The question is, how do you make it safe and enjoyable?
6 Outdoor Event Safety Tips
COVID-19 has impacted every industry, sector, and business in one way or another. But some have been affected more than others. The hospitality and entertainment industry might take first place.
With traditional events and gatherings virtually outlawed, those in the industry have had to rethink how they host events with new protocols and safety standards in place. And one of the most successful developments has been the pivot to outdoor events.
If you’re looking for a way to host safe outdoor events in the COVID era, you’ll need a plan. And here are a few of our top suggestions:
- Follow CDC Recommendations
While best practices and recommendations are constantly changing, it’s a good idea to stay up to date on the CDC’s recommendations for gatherings.
At the time of writing, the CDC rates events on a four-tiered scale ranging from Lowest Risk to More Risk to Higher Risk to Highest Risk. Activities in the Lowest Risk category include virtual-only events and gatherings. Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings land in the second tier (More Risk) but are considered much safer than large in-person gatherings.
Stay current with any updates and follow their suggestions for managing events and limiting the risk of spread.
- Limit Numbers
The absolute best thing you can do to ensure safety is to limit numbers. Infection/transmission risk is increased with each additional person at the event and with the length of the event.
In addition to limiting numbers, do your best to limit who is attending. If possible, the event should consist of people who are already frequently around each other and/or are from the same region.
- Communicate With Clarity
Clear and proactive communications are imperative. You should notify guests and attendees of exactly what they should expect (and with as much advance notice as possible). Not only does this lessen the risk that an infected individual shows up, but it also sets proper expectations for distancing, masks, and other smart behaviors.
- Keep Proper Spacing
One of the benefits of an outdoor event is airflow and spacing. But to maximize these benefits, you need to establish protocols that make it easy for individuals to remain appropriately spaced out. Examples include:
- When setting up tables, consider alternating seating so there’s one empty space in between each place setting.
- When it comes to restrooms, onsite porta potty units can prevent people from needing to go indoors. (And having enough of them can prevent long lines.)
- Use signage and floor marks to indicate where people should walk, stand, sit, etc.
Being thoughtful with details such as these will positively impact your event and ensure things run much smoother.
- Create Contingency Plans
Contingency plans are always good to have when planning an event, but you’ll need even more in the era of COVID. You should have clear and decisive pivots in place for any number of outcomes, including known COVID exposure, weather-related issues, lack of event staff, etc.
- Develop Thick Skin
As anyone in a decision-making role over the past year knows, there will always be critics. There will be people who think you aren’t doing enough, people who think you’re being too relaxed, and other people who will feel the need to criticize every little decision. While feedback like this can sting, developing thick skin will keep you sane.
Doing the Best With What You Know
There’s so much uncertainty right now. Not even doctors and public health officials can agree on the best protocols and safety measures. With that being said, you have to be comfortable with doing the best you can with what you know. Then, as things change and new developments emerge, you can shift gears.
You won’t get everything right, but at least you can rest easy knowing you’re making wise decisions that prioritize the safety and well-being of everyone involved.