Providing peace of mind to help attendees feel confident and safe during these times is the ultimate business goal for many right now. There are many tips to keep in mind to safely return to in-person meetings and events. Seasoned event industry professionals are constantly educating themselves on the matter and closely watching and adapting based on CDC recommendations. Each and every day seems to bring some new crisis. If businesses want to host in-person meetings and events, it’s more important than ever to put attendee and staff health and safety first. Although many of these tips may seem like extra work, they will save time and businesses in the long run.

Expert Tips for a Transition Back to In-Person Meetings and Events

1. Follow CDC and State Health Department recommendations. While it feels like “what to do” is a moving target, visibly publishing and following prescribed safety recommendations by the authorities will empower attendees (and your team) with information. A demonstration of compliance for the most current published recommendations can increase overall comfort and reduce concern. Simply posting a sign with guidelines can have a major impact and ultimately provide some ease. Please note that guidelines will vary from state to state and change over time.

2. Expect that individual comfort and tolerance for gatherings will be all over the map. Do what you can to appeal to people on all points of the spectrum, from those feeling completely at ease to those feeling downright anxious. Helpful measures include:

  • Easy access to PPE
  • Snack or meal options that can be grab and go, as well as traditional meal breaks
  • Looser agendas that allow for personal choice
  • Run main stage presentations on monitors in foyers and outdoor spaces so attendees can find space that allows them to feel comfortable
  • Be mindful of 6-foot social distancing. Use branding and marketing moments to ensure spacing guidelines are met while making the space useful beyond social distancing
  • Ubiquitous sanitization stations

3. Personal choice. Historically we have all used every trick in the book to “herd” our guests into following our agendas. From VOG (voice of god or goddess) announcements, bells and chimes, dimming lights, to costumed entertainers—we have done it all. There is no better time than now to loosen the reins on agenda enforcement. Yes, we work hard to have meaningful content delivered meticulously and on a rigid schedule, but now is the time to honor personal choice and make that valuable data available in a variety of ways. At the end of the day, attendees want to feel their health and safety is a genuine concern and that they are making decisions based on their own personal comfort levels.

4. Adapt, adjust and absorb. These are unprecedented times for all of us and are the new reality. If we are all fluid to a degree, we can share best practices, challenges, insights and adapt as we go. 2020 has been an extremely unconventional year, so as cliche as it may sound: expect the unexpected. Even better? Prepare for it.

5. Invest in a professional sanitization company. This simple step has the power to create additional peace of mind and ensures deep cleaning that is equally safe and efficient.

Stefanie Lerner is co-founder and CEO of SaniCrew, a modern-day “Ghostbusters” that brings sanitization products to groups of people. Her team combines costume design and production, a high-quality hand-sanitizing product, and entertainers, greeters and brand ambassadors to produce a uniformed sanitization squad that allows for social distancing and a smile.