Re-starting the events industry with confidence
Updated: May 14, 2020
We’ve been through the Government guidance on reopening offices and providing food services, and looked at what that might mean for the events industry.
We are all looking forward to a time when we can begin to access the services and experiences we did before this crisis began.
For the events sector, this means being able to provide customers with unique settings and quality experiences for their weddings, parties, conferences and meetings.
This will only work when the procedures and risk management approach of those venues gives its teams and customers the confidence to start again.
Whilst we await the detail on what might be required for a July return for hospitality businesses, the Governments working safely guidelines for offices and restaurants and takeaways give some big clues about how infection risk will need to be managed.
Take a look below at what the guidance is saying and how you can start planning to re-open.
A whole new regime needs to be in place. Starting with adequate ventilation and extending to frequent cleaning of surfaces and equipment based on use, access to hygiene facilities and more specific guidance for Covid-19 case cleandowns.
Be vigilant about documentation and record keeping. Policy and cleaning templates should be created for all cleaning processes.
For audit purposes, electronically store critical records including trained personnel information, staff briefings and cleaning activity.
Limits should be placed on the number of visitors attending a site and the times that they are able to visit. In particular you should be restricting the overlap of visitors on site, and reviewing entry, exit and movement around venues to minimise contact. Maintaining a record of all visitors will help to share information and manage risk.
Pre-register all guests in order to maintain a visitor record and share electronic communications about procedure and safety prior to and on arrival. Consider providing an e-sign document on visiting the site as part of your terms and conditions for using the facilities.
Keep an eye on government support for providing arrival checks. There may be options to introduce temperature checks for guests at the door, or validation using NHS Trace and Test App if you stipulate guests are required to have it. There is a possibility the government may support funding introducing these services at your venue to balance the need for an active hospitality sector and a safe public.
Review and update room configurations to allow meeting and event spaces to be used safely. Communicate revised capacities to guests through your website and online booking services.
Stagger guests arriving and leaving. Provide clear arrival instructions in advance to manage contact risk. Arrival should be registered using an electronic service to avoid having a physical reception. Routes around site and the use of facilities should be considered and clearly signposted with instructions.
Make staff protection your priority. Minimising the risk you expose staff to is critical in resuming operations successfully. Visitor capacities need to be considered with staffing levels in mind, and your guest management approach should be developed based on limited contact with colleagues.
Clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene should be explained ahead of arrival and during visits using clear signposting, website notices, email and phone. Hosts may need to receive additional information and training to ensure their guests can use the facilities safely.
Publish safety guidance, procedures and cleaning protocol on your website and direct visitors to the information in emails. Ensure wall and floor signs relating to social distancing and hygiene policies are abundant and clear.
Capture Covid-19 policies and procedures in your terms and conditions. These should cover what is expected of customers in complying with risk management, and your rules in relation to Covid-19 related cancellations, in instances where you are forced to close and when the customer is unable to attend due to their own need to self-quarantine.
Record guest acknowledgement of procedures to confirm that they have read and understood them, and include this requirement in your terms and conditions too.
Take legal advice with regard to liability for risk of infection on site and be clear on this in your terms and conditions. You should review and where necessary update your insurance cover to ensure you are adequately protected.
Use email and SMS to share policies and information ahead of pre-registered guests arrival, and as hygiene nudges when they are on site.
Limit the use of high touch items like printers, projectors and coffee machines. The use of face masks is not stipulated but recommended where social distancing is not possible.
Consider how food services are provided. People will still want refreshments but buffets and self-service machines considerably increase risk. Focus on a pre-order, individually packaged service as part of your guest pre-registration process.
Take the same approach for equipment like projectors and audio equipment that will need to be rigorously monitored and cleaned. All items should be pre-hired and only be present in rooms when the host has placed an order to ensure appropriate cleaning before and after use.
Use of offsite 3rd party suppliers should be limited as much as possible, but where they are used for catering or equipment hire services, you should apply the same rigour to their processes as your own. Stipulate visibility of their policies and maintain electronic copies of their hygiene checks for audit purposes.
Consider your approach to PPE for guests. Whilst providing face masks is not mandated, you should recognise that individuals may want the additional comfort of wearing one. Supplying them yourself creates a high touch process and places responsibility on the venue for the reliability of the equipment. We would propose you remind guests they may wish to wear a facemask when visiting as part of pre-arrival comms.
We’ve been developing features in our Switch software to help you manage and maintain the critical measures and processes outlined above.
If you’d like to understand more about how we can help you, you can book a video call here, or email us on email@example.com.