Have you accidentally come within two metres of another person during COVID times?
The answer is no doubt yes.
People are social beings who seek closeness with others. It’s human nature and therefore bound to happen.
So how can we help attendees comply with social distancing rules at events?
While it’s an event planner’s responsibility to ensure a venue allows for physical distancing, simply having that space does not guarantee it will occur. Here are four products that can assist attendees with keeping their distance from one another during an in-person event.
Bumper tables are an innovative way to create an ‘unbreakable’ six-foot gap between attendees. And as everyone gets their own table, it minimizes the risk associated with high-touch surfaces at a cocktail party or reception. Each table includes an air-filled tube around the edges, a cup holder for drinks and wheels. Attendees can move around easily and socialize freely without worrying about whether they’re getting too close to others in the process. What’s more, tables can be customized with company logos or event graphics to generate revenue.
While charging stations aren’t new to events, it may be worthwhile to increase your budget for them at your next conference.
The more charging stations available, the less likely attendees will congregate in one area. Consider including a station that can charge up to five mobile devices at a time at each table, so attendees can stay at their assigned seat. This will help maintain the physical distancing you carefully considered when creating the floor plan. Chargers can also be custom branded, giving sponsors unique options for brand activations.
A staple at grocery stores since the pandemic was basically first declared, sneeze guards have made their way into the hospitality industry. They not only create physical distance between event staff and guests, but also a physical barrier to help protect people from the spread of COVID-19 transmitted by way of talking, coughing or sneezing. The clear plastic acrylic shields add an extra level of safety, while providing an unobstructed sightline at registration and information desks or in place of stanchions.
There are a variety of social distancing wearable devices being developed, which have the potential to greatly impact live events as the technology becomes more widely available and cost effective. Many of them use ultra-wideband to determine the location of other devices and alert the wearer through light, sound and vibration when they come within a predetermined safe distance. Unlike some contact tracing apps that rely on attendees to opt in by downloading an app to their mobile device, social distancing wearable devices can be incorporated into the on-site registration experience, where attendees collect their name badge along with their device to be used for the duration of the event. Attendees can then self-regulate their social distance while you focus on the content and experience of your event.
Ambient Volume Levels
There is currently no single solution that will ensure attendees’ safety. But by implementing a variety of measures, you can help set your in-person event up for success in the COVID era. An item not to overlook is ambient volume levels. Loud ambient sound in a room makes hearing conversations more difficult and may unintentionally encourage attendees to stand closer together in order to speak to each other. Consider lowering the volume on piped in music and saving louder acts for when attendees are seated.
Taylor Rojo is an event coordinator at Timewise Event Management Inc., a pioneer in the meetings and events industry in Western Canada. Together with sister company Event Technology Solutions, Timewise works with corporate clients and associations to plan and execute experiential events. Taylor is a passionate professional with a keen interest in sustainable events. She recently completed her term with the education committee for the International Live Events Association Canada, Edmonton chapter. Taylor can be reached at 780-444-3773.