Before hosting an in-person event, it’s important to understand the risks of COVID-19 transmission at your event. We outline how to conduct a risk assessment in Eventbrite’s COVID-19 Safety Playbook for Events, which you should consult before deciding whether to stage your event. It’s also important to understand and implement the basic safety steps you can take to prevent or manage those risks.
“If every event creator carries out the same health protocols, people will get used to that, and discerning attendees will be uncomfortable going to an event that is not practicing safe protection,” says Dr. Jeff Runge, senior advisor at the Chertoff Group, the risk-management and security consulting film we partnered with to develop the Safety Playbook. “The more events that are put on the right way, the more the safety procedures will normalize. For example, everyone who gets on an airplane understands the value of managing risk with safety screening done consistently and efficiently, and so will event attendees in a pandemic.”
Below are the basic safety steps every event creator should take before, during, and after hosting an event. Depending on the risks associated with a particular event, additional safety precautions may be appropriate.
Basic steps all event creators should take during the COVID-19 outbreak:
- Seek advice from and collaborate with local authorities and public health officials for current COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations.
- Provide resources that detail the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 to help educate potential event-goers and staff on whether they should attend or stay home.
- Require staff and event-goers to stay home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, or gastro-intestinal issues. Additionally, require attendees to not attend the event if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or had direct contact with an individual diagnosed with or suspected to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Consider implementing permissive refund policies to encourage event goers to comply with these rules.
- Provide access to hand-washing stations with soap and water or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if the former is unavailable.
- Provide instructions on proper handwashing at handwashing stations (at least 20 seconds in accordance with CDC/WHO guidelines).
- Create an event-specific medical response plan, designating responsible persons, nearby emergency services, and determining how to isolate and transport staff or attendees experiencing a medical emergency. Develop plans for quickly and safely evacuating an event.
- Determine event capacity based on the geometry and physical characteristics of your venue. This should include factors like ventilation, presence of UV or HEPA air filters in the building or venue, and physical distance/density of attendees.
- Modify attendee/staff density to enforce all safety protocols, including six-feet (two-meters) physical distancing requirements in all venue spaces where attendees congregate — including restrooms, queuing areas, and during ingress and egress procedures. This may include temporary modifications to your space (e.g., closing adjacent sink stations, metering bathroom usage, queuing to enter and exit the venue, and modifying seating and standing arrangements).
- Designate one or more staff members to enforce physical distancing and face covering requirements throughout the event.
- Require all attendees and staff to wear CDC/WHO recommended face coverings during the event.
- Assign staff to cleaning tasks performed before, during, and after the event. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. before and during the event using CDC and/or WHO cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.
- For events with multiple shifts, showtimes, or events, clean and disinfect common spaces between each group of people. Be sure to provide enough time between groups to allow for cleaning and disinfection of commonly touched surfaces.
Measures to implement before your event:
- Clean surfaces with soap and water before using an approved household disinfectant. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, toilets, faucets, sinks, or items distributed to attendees before the event using CDC and/or WHO cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.
- Provide event-goers with resources that detail the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 to help educate potential event-goers on whether they should attend or stay home.
- Require staff and event-goers to stay home if they have experienced COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 day, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14-days, or have had contact with a known or suspected COVID-19 case.
- Consider flexible refund policies and communicate these policies to attendees
- Create a plan to respond to medical or other predictable natural and man-made threats and hazards (e.g., security incident, fire, weather emergency).
- Identify the closest hospital or health center should someone become ill.
- Staff or supply a first-aid station for minor injuries or sick attendees.
- Plan for a location to isolate event-goers and/or staff who demonstrate signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- Plan to minimize person-to-person contact for event organizers and staff during the planning process.
- Maintain updated contact information for staff and venue operators to communicate information about COVID-19 updates.
- Create signage outlining face coverings and/or other personal protective equipment rules, physical distancing requirements, and other COVID-19 specific procedures; ensure any messaging surrounding COVID-19 recognizes and addresses cultural, language, and/or disability barriers.
- Establish video/audio participation options for sick and/or high-risk individuals.
- Create a plan for contacting event-goers after the event, should it become necessary to notify them of exposure to COVID-19.
Measures to implement during your event:
- Use a contactless method for exchanging or verifying items like tickets or identification, and for accepting payments at the event.
- Consider requiring vaccine verification or proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter your event. We interviewed three Eventbrite creators to learn how requiring proof of vaccine for attendance has played out for them and their audiences.
- Provide access to hand-washing stations with soap and water or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if the former is unavailable. Require attendees to use hand sanitizer or wash hands upon entry and exit of your venue, exit of bathrooms, after disposing of waste, and after consuming food.
- Provide instructions on proper handwashing at handwashing stations (at least 20 seconds in accordance with CDC/WHO guidance).
- Remind event-goers not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Event-goers should cover their nose and mouth with an approved face cover when around others. Unless stated otherwise by local regulations, exceptions are for children under two, persons with breathing issues, or someone who is unconscious/incapacitated or unable to remove their face cover independently.
- Per physical distancing guidelines, event-goers should stay at least six feet (two meters) from one another, even if they are wearing face coverings.
- Provide culturally appropriate messages and materials to prohibit certain actions like handshakes or high-fives that are common at many events but could facilitate the spread of COVID-19.
- When not wearing a recommended face cover, event-goers should cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, not touch their face, and should then wash their hands.
- To the extent possible, screen event-goers for COVID-19 symptoms. Require individuals with visible COVID-19 symptoms, such as a cough, to leave the event immediately, review reporting requirements, and re-assess risk of continuing the event.
- If serving food, consider pre-packaged single-serve options. Follow WHO and/or the U.S Food & Drug Administration (depending on your event’s location) recommendations for COVID-19 food safety. Consider pre-packaged and pre-distributed options.
- If an event-goer displays symptoms, separate the event-goer from others until they can go home, contact local health officials, communicate potential exposure to staff and event-goers, and clean and disinfect the event space.
- Designate and denote a location to isolate event-goers and/or staff who demonstrate signs or symptoms of COVID-19 — and staff members who will respond to ill attendee concerns.
Measures to implement after your event:
- If an event-goer displayed symptoms at the event, communicate potential exposure to the venue owner (if applicable), public health officials, staff, and event-goers, and clean and disinfect the event space.
- Clean surfaces with soap and water before using an approved household disinfectant. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. after the event using CDC and/or WHO cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and spaces between events, including between events that may have multiple shifts, acts, or showings.
CTA: Before deciding to host your event, complete the full risk assessment exercise in Eventbrite’s COVID-19 Safety Playbook for Events