With 2020 more than halfway over and COVID-19 raging on in the United States, nearly everyone is starved for human interaction, but many planners are still trying to wrap their heads around what exactly in-person events post-COVID will look like, and when they will be able to occur at all.
Time Frame for In-Person Events
Considering the fact that social distancing has been lauded as one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, it’s clear that the global pandemic has had a fundamental impact on in-person events. In accordance with CDC Guidelines, virtually every event has been cancelled for the summer of 2020.
So, when exactly will in-person events resume? The somewhat unsatisfactory answer is that it depends on how the coming months play out, but current timelines project that it is somewhat likely events will pick back up starting in October of this year, although some corporations have publicly cancelled all events of more than 50 attendees until June 2021.
Of course, the number of people in attendance and the state in which the event is taking place will play a large role in when an event can transpire.
Conditions for In-Person Events to Happen
As you might expect, there are a wide range of conditions which must be satisfied in order for an event to take place. The U.S. Government released guidelines for Opening Up America Again several months ago; these guidelines stipulate that events are capped at 50 attendees until the country exists “phase two” of the reopening plan, which may last into 2021.
Some guidelines for smaller events to occur include:
- Abiding by social distancing and wearing protective equipment
- Temperature checks and additional testing measures
- Regular sanitation of high-traffic points
- Contact tracing
Different states have different regulations, but these are the standards by which most all large companies are operating when it comes to events for at least the next 6 months or so.
What Will In-Person Events Look Like?
As social distancing becomes the “new normal,” in-person events will obviously look and feel different even when they do resume. These are some of the differences you can expect:
- Registration — Attendees will need to maintain 6 feet of distance while waiting in line to register, or this process may simply move online. Learn more about safe registration and check-in will look like.
- Signage — Social distancing guideline signs will need to be placed on the ground and posted to keep attendees safe.
- Session Rooms — Large round tables packed with attendees will no longer be acceptable; planners will have to rework their capacity plans.
- Expo Halls — Bustling trade shows with tons of foot traffic may be a thing of the past; expo hall hours might need to be extended, and capacity will have to be limited.
- Booths — Marketers will have to restructure their giveaways during expos, and they will have to structure their setups in a way to allow 6 feet of distance.
- Room Layout — Chairs will need to be organized in a way that fosters safe social distancing.
- Food — Seated dining will have to replace buffets as the normal food option at in-person events for the foreseeable future.
- Activities — Networking and mixers are simply not going to be part of in-person events for a while, which is something planners will have to navigate since social activities have traditionally been a large draw.
It’s hard to tell if in-person events will ever return to their former state. For now, planners must shift to accommodate these new regulations, and find a way to make in-person events enjoyable post-COVID. Read more about the new normal of events.
Need help planning a virtual or hybrid event? Contact MeetingPlay.