Hosting meetings and events in a world affected by COVID-19 requires major adjustments - especially for organizers and host location venues. Coordinated efforts are needed before attendees will be comfortable with in-person events and things return to normal.
Organizers will be required to have rigorous plans to prevent, detect, and respond to potential outbreaks. Venues will need to focus on health and safety protocols, social distancing arrangements, and safe food and beverage to meet the expectations and requirements for safe meetings and events.
With many, local, state and federal governments advising against large gatherings, venues are starting a gradual reopen, under new safety standards. One of the most notable changes to future meetings will be room and seating configurations that fulfill local, state, and federal guidelines.
In addition, health and safety must be the priority, with venues around the world, reviewing their cleaning programs to deliver comprehensive health and cleanliness programs to ensure the safety of events as they resume.
Event Health and Safety Guidelines
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have established a set of consideration for event organizers meant to enhance the protection of individuals and communities in the prevention of COVID-19. These considerations are meant to supplement, not replace, any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply.
Organizers should continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for gatherings.
In addition to the WHO and CDC guidelines, many leading hotel brands such as Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, and others are adopting Stay Safe practices (See below).
Stay Safe addresses all aspects of guest and staff safety, including contact-less check-in, upgraded cleaning standards and protocols and reducing guest and meeting room capacities to adhere to social distancing protocols
Visit some major hotel brand websites to see how some of these new policies are being implemented to safeguard attendees and guests:
Since the pandemic began, we have all recognized that recovery will be a journey. Assumptions, guidance and global policy responses are likely to change along the way, affecting events across the globe as we look ahead to 2021.
The event outlook will vary widely, not only based on the nature of the events, but local and regional factors. Maintaining a variety of content delivery models will be important as uncertainty remains on when restrictions will be lifted. Economic and safety concerns may restrict travel to events.
Throughout these next phases, IEEE MCE will continue to help our community with updates, insights, and resources to help our organizers navigate their event needs and strategies.