Event safety during a pandemic

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A benchmark report released by Liveforce has revealed the impact of Covid-19 on the event and promo staffing industry, which like many sectors is experiencing significant uncertainty as a result of the pandemic.

The report revealed that despite the effects of Covid-19 the overwhelming majority of staff in the industry want to continue to work in the sector and are keen to get back to work. Most are looking ahead to spring 2021 for business to return to normal.

The Government has issued and continues to update its guidance on how to work safely during coronavirus for those working in the visitor economy, including indoor and outdoor attractions, business events and consumer shows.

This guidance is intended to sit alongside businesses’ legal health and safety obligations and, whatever action is required to become operational again, all events organisations should carry out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment at business and site level.

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Steps that will typically need to be taken include:

  • Ensuring social distancing over the total floor space including identifying potential bottle necks or congestion points.
  • Managing crowd control, by introducing timed ticketing or limiting entry numbers.
  • Queue management using social distancing safety barriers.
  • Access control and making reasonable adjustments for those who may need them.
  • Reducing the risk of infection transmission by encouraging customers to regularly use hand sanitisation facilities.
  • Working with local authorities and neighbouring businesses to create a transport plan that manages the impact of your safety measures on pedestrian and vehicle traffic in public spaces.
  • Increasing safe ventilation on-site.
  • Displaying clear signage, for workers and customers, about the health and safety guidelines in place at your venue.

At the time of writing indoor performances remain prohibited in front of a live audience, to reduce the risk of infection transmission between performers and the audience. Other close contact activities – such as communal dancing, singing, and conversing at loud volumes are also not permitted. Venue owners are encouraged to reconfigure entertainment spaces to allow customers to stand rather than be seated.

Indoor gatherings (public events) remain limited to groups of two households or support bubbles. The guidance for business events enables meetings of up to 30 people indoors provided that social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed appropriate COVID-19 health and safety guidance. From 1 August, the same applies for exhibition and conference centres wishing to show small groups around their facilities in order to plan future events.

It is expected that, from 1 October, consumer and trade shows, conferences and exhibitions, will be permitted to operate at a reduced capacity, which is compliant with social distancing.

Industry bodies, including The Association of Event Organisers, The Events Industry Forum, and The Meetings Industry Association have drafted guidance to support reopening.

Consideration should also be given to security measures on-site, to ensure that there are no unintentional security risks posed as a result of changes being made to your business processes e.g. around queue management and access control. These can be identified by carrying out a security risk assessment.

Workplaces should not support use of extra personal protective equipment (PPE), beyond healthcare settings, unless it is identified in a risk assessment.  Additional PPE is only recommended if a business is responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

Reopening the visitor economy is being supported by NHS Track and Trace, which means that businesses should keep a record of their customers’ data for 21 days, to help minimise further virus outbreaks.

Further guidance on how to manage risk at work along with risk assessment templates and advice on how to help control the risk of coronavirus in the workplace is available from The Health and Safety Executive.

Links to sector-specific resources for each part of the visitor economy are available on the Government’s website.