Given everything going on with COVID-19, it can be difficult for event planners to know what to prioritize when hosting an event. However, Ismail Sirdah, the owner and founder of Lulu Promotions in Atlanta, Georgia, has begun throwing events during the pandemic and thus has learned firsthand what the top priorities for event planning should be. He outlines what to prioritize when hosting an event in 2020.
Health and Safety
First and foremost, now more than ever before safety must be the top priority when hosting a live event. Although event promoters might feel tempted to flout the rules surrounding live events in Georgia, it is of the utmost importance that all event planning companies strictly adhere to said rules in the name of safety. Not only will following the health protocols in your state keep everyone, including yourself, safe, but it will also make people more willing to attend your event, as they know the proper precautions are being taken. Further, the more that event promoters start hosting events that coincide with state guidelines, the more people will get used to it and the less backlash there will be. For example, Ismail Sirdah says that in Georgia, the state government has strongly suggested people wear a face mask or face covering while in an enclosed public space. Although it is not mandatory in Georgia, wearing a face mask has been proven to curb the spread of COVID-19. By making this a rule at your indoor event and actually enforcing it, you can help people stay healthy and safe.
Overall, Ismail Sirdah asserts that it is the responsibility of the event planning company to stay up to date on the latest national, state, and local public health directives and act accordingly. In addition, if your state or city experiences an outbreak of COVID-19 shortly before your event, it is possible you will have to cancel or postpone the event. This is the reality of event hosting in the middle of a pandemic. Bear this in mind and have an emergency plan in place. Again, safety is the top priority so if holding an event is no longer safe in Georgia by the time your event date rolls around, it is your responsibility to cancel or postpone the event.
Second to safety is communication, shares Ismail Sirdah. This actually relates to safety as in addition to hosting an event that is safe to attend, you need to be communicating regularly and openly about what each attendee needs to do in order to stay safe. All safety procedures should be communicated to event attendees numerous times. Information regarding the guidelines that attendees must follow and any items they are required to bring such as face coverings should be listed on the event’s website, social media pages, and in email blasts. You may also want to have this information as part of the actual ticket.
In addition, you may also want to communicate with your attendees when any news related to COVID-19 in your state or city occurs. For example, if the governor issues a new directive or set of restrictions relating to live events during COVID-19 or if an outbreak happens in a nearby city, send an email to your attendees explaining if and how this might affect the event you have scheduled.
Ismail Sirdah on Event Staff
Large-scale events often have plenty of event staff, shares Ismail Sirdah. But now, event planners and promoters need to remember that additional security and staff will likely be required in order to enforce safety measures. Even if the event is smaller than those of the past, (in Georgia, for example, gatherings are currently limited to 200 people), there will still be a need for lots of staff and security to properly monitor all attendees and enforce guidelines. Guidelines that will need enforcement include the wearing of face coverings and keeping six feet apart. You’ll need to really think about how many people a security guard can monitor at one time and then make sure you hire enough staff on the day of the event.