With the return of live events being the next stop on the government’s coronavirus roadmap, event creators are understandably brimming with questions about how to plan for when lockdown ends. Eventbrite is here to help. This blog provides a collection of answers to the most burning questions on your mind, which you can use when creating a dynamic and safe event management plan. As usual, always check and comply with the latest government guidelines when planning in-person events.

How many guests am I allowed to have?

The situation – as we’ve all learnt – is subject to rapid changes. So in parts of the UK, your number of permitted guests may depend on the nature of your venue and event. For example, Scotland is advising seated indoor events to operate with a maximum of 400 people and outdoor grouped standing events to have a maximum of 2,000 guests. But England has now ended the majority of its COVID-19 restrictions, meaning that attendee caps, social distancing, and face coverings are no longer legally required. Guidance in England is now emphasising personal responsibility instead. Reviews of further event-related restrictions are expected in the coming weeks for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

In Ireland, organised outdoor events can host 200 people and 500 people can attend events in venues with a capacity of 5,000 or more. Indoor events are currently not permitted. But July 19 marked the start of international travel in Ireland, thanks to the EU Digital COVID Certificate.

How do I make my event COVID-secure?

You’ll need to think about how to organise your space, how to provide for guests and staff, and how you’ll implement regular cleaning schedules. In terms of space, consider creating a floor plan for social distancing. Effective strategies include seating guests at least a metre apart, creating distinct sections reserved for families or groups who attend together, and maintaining distancing in line with signage. Make sure your layout is clearly marked so that guests can easily abide by any distancing requirements, install sanitising stations, and ensure that communal and high-touch areas are regularly cleaned. You may need to hire extra staff where needed to help direct the flow of guests.

To further boost guest and staff safety, provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). Hold a training session for staff so that they understand how to properly use PPE, as well as hand sanitiser and disinfectant. Signage at your event can instruct attendees on what type of PPE is required and how to wear or use it properly. For more information, read through our pandemic event glossary.

How do I create an effective health and safety policy?

Start by integrating a risk assessment into your event planning checklist – this will help you to evaluate health and safety factors specific to your event and to make sure that you’ve covered all bases. Elements that can increase risk include venue size, number of attendees, toilet facilities, and whether food and drink will be served. Once you have these figured out, you’ll need to determine ways to mitigate those risks, from one-way systems to social distancing markers. Lastly, be sure that the final policy is clearly communicated to staff and guests. For more help on making your event COVID-secure, check out this reopening blog.

How do I implement social distancing and contactless measures?

You can easily add social distancing measures to your live events with the likes of clear signage and timed entry slots to avoid queues. Opting for contactless ticket scanning and onsite payments will also help to reduce contact between staff and attendees. Luckily, Eventbrite has plenty of tools to help, offering ways to limit the number of people at your event at any given time and to check in guests without any contact.

How do I ensure that guests feel safe enough to attend my events?

Coronavirus anxiety can be a very real thing for many people, so try to remember this when speaking to attendees and reassure them as much as possible. When it comes to making your guests feel comfortable at any event, communication is key before, during, and after the big day. To assure them that your event complies with restrictions, make your health and safety policy clearly visible on your event page and social media platforms and give attendees plenty of ways to contact you if they have any questions. Be sure to train your staff to enforce social distancing rules in a kind and understanding way, as well as on the legal requirements around PPE. Here are some more tips on reassuring attendees right now.

Am I able to require attendees and staff to be vaccinated prior to my event?

In England, mandatory COVID-19 vaccination will be required at nightclubs and other venues that welcome large crowds from the end of September. But rules relating to this are yet to be determined for the rest of the UK and Ireland. So, depending on where your events are held, it may be your choice to ask attendees and staff for proof of vaccination. (Remember that some people are unable to be vaccinated, so you may need to ask them for proof of a negative test result instead.)

If you wish to go down this route, determine how you want to verify vaccine status. You can ask people at the door if they’re vaccinated, trusting that they are answering the question honestly, or can require proof of vaccination, such as a paper vaccine card, at the door. Alternatively, you can rely on a smartphone app like the NHS COVID Pass, which creates scannable passes based on vaccination records.

What screening questions should I ask guests when they arrive at my event?

COVID-19 screening questions can help you identify any attendees who might be infected with COVID-19 or at a higher risk of contracting it. These might include:

  • Do you or any member of your household/family have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19?
  • Are you or any member of your household/family waiting for a COVID-19 test result?

In the last 10 days, have you:

  • Travelled internationally?
  • Had contact with someone with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19?
  • Had contact with a person who’s been to a red list country?

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • A high temperature or fever
  • A new or continuous cough
  • Loss or alteration to taste or smell

What do I do if I find out there was a confirmed COVID-19 case at my event?

Contact tracing is necessary after a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your event. That means you’ll need to collect your attendees’ contact information so that you can alert people if they were exposed to a confirmed case. Gather this information ahead of time, either when tickets are purchased or at the door. An effective contact tracing form should include the name, phone number, and email address of every attendee.

Will I be able to make a profit?

As events are currently operating at reduced capacities, this is unsurprisingly a hugely important consideration. There are a number of support schemes available to help with finances, such as the government’s Recovery Loan Scheme. Practically speaking though, there are strategies you can use to maximise your revenue. Consider:

  • Creating premium VIP packages or multiple ticket tiers to boost profits from ticket sales
  • Offering credit for future events, instead of just refunds
  • Creating a series of events to encourage return visitors
  • Negotiating more flexible deals with suppliers and sponsors

What do I do if restrictions change?

Given that the only constant at the moment is change, having a comprehensive back-up plan is crucial for limiting disruption to your events. Being flexible enough to shift your event to an online platform or even organising it as a hybrid event could be a good option. Make sure that you also have a clearly defined refund policy so that attendees know if and when they can get their money back.

Why is everyone talking about hybrid events?

A hybrid event involves hosting your event in person and online at the same time. This allows you to host a bigger number of attendees and is particularly beneficial if changing restrictions mean that you’re unable to have as many in-person guests as expected. If guests need some encouragement to attend virtually, consider offering a discounted rate or some other incentive like free merchandise. This way, you can maximise profit from ticket sales without having to pay for a larger venue to accommodate more people.

How can I stay up-to-date with the latest guidelines?

You can stay on top of the latest local and national guidelines by visiting the official coronavirus guidance pages for the UK and Ireland.

Stay ahead of reopening

Still unsure where to start? Our COVID-19 Safety Playbook for Events is a good place to begin, as it provides a comprehensive overview of what to consider when planning an event in the current climate.

The steps outlined above are designed to ease the process, but it’s important that you also check the most up-to-date government guidelines and follow all applicable restrictions and regulations.

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