10 COVID-19 Safety Considerations When Booking Your Next Venue
1. If your budget is flexible, rent a larger space that allows for full attendance while being able to distance everyone.
2. For multiple-day events, consider having on-site testing/screening in a private space at your venue. If you don’t want onsite testing, you should at least research the closest testing facility to your venue.
3. Weather permitting, move the program outside to allow for maximum airflow and more room for attendees to socially distance.
4. Ask yourself, what COVID-19 safety procedures does the venue have set in place? What sort of PPE do they provide, if any? This could impact your capabilities for the event. A few questions worth asking your venue:
– What guidelines will attendees need to follow?
– Is staff required to mask up? Are they being screened?
– What sanitation process do you have for AV equipment being used?
5. For indoor spaces, make sure it has quality ventilation or additional air purifiers that are cycling the air. Do the HVAC system(s) work? What is the venue doing to make sure air is being filtered or circulating?
6. Shrink your attendance but duplicate your event. This will allow for smaller gatherings but the chance for everyone to share the experience.
7. When booking a hotel, it’s best to look for options that allow each guest to have their own room. Keep in mind this would require a budget increase if moving forward with the event in person. If your budget is not flexible, consider pairing roommates for the duration of the event to create an “attendee pod.”
8. If traveling out of state, be sure to research the local guidelines and restrictions. To find these you can look on state, city, and some Convention and Visitors Bureau websites. Do they require proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test, mask-wearing? Are there gathering size limitations? Guidelines, restrictions, and bans vary from state to state.
9. Floor graphics are still important and now will serve to keep your attendees safe. They can be used to direct people where to stand or to use as directional signage for traffic. Make sure your venue allows for these, they might even have a specific vendor that has to be used.
10. Determine if the venue is financially stable and if they have a flexible cancellation policy. Be prepared to have a plan and know what happens if your venue goes out of business once the contract is signed and a deposit has been made.
We are all so excited to be meeting in person again, with safety top of mind! Over the course of the pandemic, our industry has engineered a way to do so. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will get you started on the road to recovery.