As vaccination numbers tick up and in-person events resume, many event creators are debating how to best protect the health and safety of their attendees. There’s buzz around so-called vaccination passports, but the legality of inquiring about attendees’ vaccination statuses remains murky. Given this and the troubling new rise of COVID-19 cases and dangerous new variants, a difficult question lingers on the minds of many event creators: How does this affect planning for this summer and beyond?

These issues are all new, evolving, and complicated, especially for event creators who are ready to share their passions with an audience or community again. Here’s everything you need to know about planning events in this new and challenging time.

The evolving vaccine landscape

One of the most important things Irish event creators can do is to encourage vaccinations, because more vaccinated people equals safer events. As the World Health Organisation (WHO) says, “vaccines are a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19,” and while the country’s vaccine rollout has made some progress, there’s still a long way to go. Currently, three million doses have been administered and 41.5% of the population is fully vaccinated. Those aged 18 and above are now able to register for their vaccine. 

If you’re looking to hold an event in an indoor hospitality setting — for example, in a pub, cafe, restaurant, and other licensed premises — high vaccination numbers may also translate to an uptick in potential attendees. Likely beginning as soon as July 26th, such venues will open to holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate, which is available to those who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. It’s simple to use: A free mobile app produces a QR code, which indoor hospitality facilities scan to determine vaccination status. There’s hope, too, that the same system will be used in the future at bingo halls, bowling alleys, and other currently closed indoor settings.

What about other types of indoor events? It might be a while longer until Irish event creators get the all-clear. It’d take a separate piece of legislation to allow the collection of attendees’ vaccination statuses in exchange for entrance to more indoor events, and there’s currently no talk of one. But as has been the case with everything over the course of this pandemic, the situation is fluid and could change on a whim. Stay glued to our biweekly round-up of U.K. and Ireland industry events to stay on top of any potential shifts in policy.

If the COVID-19 restrictions around trying to plan an indoor event are making your head spin, why not look outside? As of early July, up to 200 attendees are officially allowed at outdoor shindigs and as many as 500 people for outdoor venues with a capacity greater than 5,000, so long as appropriate protective measures are in place.

Planning a COVID-safe event with the Safety Playbook

As a creator of live events, you can play a pivotal role in controlling the spread of the virus through adopting science-backed safety measures and protocols at your event. Our COVID-19 Safety Playbook can help you navigate this tricky terrain, ensuring both safety and comfort for your attendees. 

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all safety policy. Variables like size, format, location, and food service at your event will dictate which measures you should put in place. There are less obvious problems to tackle, too — everything from what to do when lines form at toilet facilities to minimising person-to-person contact between event organisers and staff during the planning process.

Beyond the safety protocols implemented before, during, and after your event, there’s also the challenge of communicating organisers’ decision-making process so that attendees can make an informed decision about whether it’s right for them to attend. After all, attendees are your partners in safety. It’s key to stress the importance of good safety etiquette, like bringing and wearing face coverings and maintaining a two-metre distance from others. No matter your event policy, be sure that it is clearly stated and enforced, including how you will handle refund requests for those who fail to comply or those who test positive for COVID-19 before the event.

We know it’s all a lot to take in, but fear not: Eventbrite is here to help. As the landscape continues to evolve, consult Eventbrite’s Event Industry Report to stay in the loop about how event planners are navigating regulations and requirements.

Notice: This article is provided for general information only and is not medical, legal, or professional advice. Eventbrite expressly disclaims liability for any loss or damage that results from any application of, or reliance upon, anything in this document by you, your agents, or your guests. Please consult your legal counsel, insurance advisor, and other professionals for tailored advice on your legal obligations and how to mitigate risk at your events.

Eventbrite has prepared these materials with information that it believes is current as of the date listed. Guidelines and information about the virus continue to change regularly. You should review the most up-to-date resources and applicable local laws, regulations, and orders on a regular basis leading up to your event, which should take precedence over any of the general information presented in this article.

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