Growing up, I was fascinated by books on Samurai Warriors, World Wars and so on, but one book stood out: ‘The SAS Survival Handbook’, by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman. No matter what situation you would find yourself in, whether stranded in a boiling hot desert, or suffering with a snake bite wound in Bolivia, this book taught you how to survive, to overcome, and to adapt using your common sense, and the tools around you.
So, when GES Events was asked by a client to help them hold a hybrid event, with actual live human beings in attendance, in the Middle East, in the middle of a global pandemic, we knew there would be a learning curve ahead of us.
There are so many steps in place to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance, but isn’t there always safety mitigation for any event? The only difference being that this was a risk we hadn’t encountered before.
We focused on these top seven protocols, so we walked towards the goal of event success and safety for all involved.
- A designated single point of contact tracking all local government and venue regulations in real time and ensuring all stakeholders are informed and plans adapted accordingly.
- Contingency plans should any of the regulations change whilst on site. For example, we designed floor plans for 1.5m, 2m and 3m distance seating arrangements.
- Book additional ‘shadow’ crew with some staff kept off site and on standby in case key crew members were taken ill and replacements needed at short notice.
- On-site PCR tests for any crew or speakers deemed to have come from anything above a low-risk area, and isolate until negative test results given.
- Daily on-site H&S briefing between venue, crew, and client, to advise of any changes, any illnesses, positive tests, and updates on anything impacting the event delivery.
- Sanitising stations, masks, wipes, and travel sanitiser bottles supplied to all on site crew and delegates during build, rehearsals, and the live show.
- Close collaboration with the venue and venue finding team to leverage their expertise, knowledge and team to ensure seamless, safe delivery.
Now, all of the above sounds so simple, doesn’t it, using the event knowledge you have from your event agency, the people within your teams, the tools around you, and of course common sense.
The point of this blog is not to write a comprehensive list of how to hold a COVID-19 proof event, you need to use the right team or your agency for that. It’s to show you that it is perfectly possible to start the return to live events, to start the process of connecting again, either internally or externally.
With audiences ready and waiting to be engaged with, your prospects looking for normality to return, it would be a shame if you missed their call for information and engagement, and your competitor didn’t? Imagine missing this mark, when there will never be an opportunity for a share of information quite like this again.
This brings us back to the SAS Survivals Handbook mantra of adapt, survive, and overcome. We are proud at GES Events to find solutions to uncontrollable problems, working through them all with facts, common sense, knowledge, and the tools around us.