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Planning an Event During Covid-19

Well, we are almost a year into this global pandemic and while things are improving and with the vaccine rollout happening we are taking steps towards being able to gather, in person, again soon. While we have this hope on the horizon, the question remains, how on earth do you plan an event with so many uncertainties? Below we share our top 5 considerations when planning an event in a time with so much uncertainty.

1. Understand your current Covid restrictions and future local health authority plan

First and foremost, you need to assess your current situation. What are the restrictions, what are the timeframes, what does the strategy look like from your local health authority to ease them? While all of this information is fluid and ever-changing, it is important to do a current situation analysis to establish a baseline of possibilities moving forward.

2. What is your timeline?

One of the first things you need to consider is what length of timeframe are you working with? What we mean by this is, are you planning on having the event within the next 1-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, or 9 months and beyond? It is important to take this into account because it will affect several choices including the type of event you can even consider, deadline dates you need to have in place, and how far out you can stretch important decisions that have a cost and potential risk associated with them. For example, if you are hosting an event next month, you know that your only option at this time, with current restrictions in place, is to go virtual. While there may be some lightening of restrictions, the timeline is too short and the risk too high to go with any other option outside of virtual. If you are planning an event for later in the year (6 months + out), you can plan on in-person all while having the appropriate contingencies and “decision date” deadlines in place.

3. What type of event do you want to host?

Are you looking to host a virtual event, a hybrid event, or in-person event only? Establishing this component will make a lot of decisions for you in terms of the validity of moving forward with planning. In today’s current state, if you want to host any type of hybrid or in-person event only, we know that realistically this won’t be happening in Q1 of this year. If you are moving ahead with a virtual event, plan away!

4. What is your “decision date” deadline?

If you are planning an event with an in-person component you need to establish your “decision date” deadline. What we mean by this is what is the latest possible date you can make the decision to commit to the event and still have time to properly execute all of the details? You will need to take into account factors such as when deposits are due with vendors, cancellation policies, current situation analysis (ongoing), and the complexity of the event. Establish the date and keep circling back to assess the information you have and how it impacts your ability to move forward.

5. Emergency Planning and Contingency Planning

In a world with so much uncertainty, you need to ensure you have an emergency plan in place to responsibly deal with any Covid issues that could potentially arise during your event. In addition to a Covid Emergency Response Plan, you will likely need to have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D…..maybe, even more, to be honest. You need to ensure you take into consideration all potential outcomes, risks, and situations you could be dealing with, plan accordingly, and assign each plan a “decision date” deadline.

There are a lot of factors to consider when planning an event in our current environment, these are just a few to get you started off on the right foot. Most importantly, be responsible, be thorough, and make decisions that benefit the greater good of our global community.


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