Navigating Your Way to a COVID-Safe Conference
July 15, 2020
BY MICHELLE GLASSON – GEMS EVENTS
I recently read that “Adversity is an opportunity for creativity!” and nothing seems to be more true at this time, for those of us looking to move forward.
Over the past month, we’ve seen many venues announcing their re-opening, which is fantastic news for our client events, however, there is still some mystery surrounding room capacities and the dreaded 4m2 rule. How do we all (realistically) meet this any many other COVID-19 requirements, especially when dealing with events that are greater than 200 pax?
The simplest answer I can offer is to build a relationship with your venue team and start getting creative with your available spaces and catering options.
Firstly, I would say, make sure the venue is big enough to host your event. What I mean by this is, look for a venue that would normally accommodate about 80% greater numbers than the numbers you expect to put into it. Yep, you heard me correctly! This is the first step to abiding to the 4m2 rule.
Both parties will need to be flexible and willing to consider new ideas and solutions. Things like foot traffic through your venue may also pose issues at bottleneck blackspots, so it’s vital that you view the spaces with your venue team and get to know your way around.
Don’t be afraid to have some fun with this. Now is your opportunity to create experiences and solutions that you wouldn’t have thought to do pre-pandemic.
Recently, GEMS Event Management Australia collaborated with the Australian Turf Club (ATC), to discuss how we might host a large conference, accommodating the rigid social distancing restrictions. It was fantastic to learn that their past experiences in dealing with adversity has positioned them to tackle the many challenges that the current pandemic presents.
As Australia continues to rebuild post COVID-19 crisis, the ATC has diligently forged ahead, enabled by the unique position of thoroughbred racing being the only sport in Australasia to have operated during the pandemic. This advantage now offers the ATC an unrivalled edge in a quick return to business.
Learnings from the 2007 Equine Influenza Outbreak along with current strict quarantine regulations for visiting international runners, enabled the thoroughbred industry to act swiftly and adopt strict bio security measurements, which allowed the sport to stabilise and successfully operate spectator-less from 21 March to the return to spectators on 6 June.
Temperature checking of all visiting racecourse patrons and industry participants through hand held devices and state of-the-art thermographic temperature detection cameras, jockeys placed in small isolated groups on-course, and the practising of increased hygiene and safe social distancing according to NSW Government Health Orders are all contributing key factors to ensuring the utmost customer and racing participant safety.
This new way forward extends to the non-race day business events, with clients having access to use of the thermal imaging for their events during registration. Decals and separate entry and exit points are some of the simple ways the ATC are helping clients on course with their events. Food service is the next major difference of how they operate to ensure the safety of delegates.
It was pleasing to see, conference packages have been adapted to have add on lunch options to the choice of a boxed lunch, roving grazing lunch or a plated lunch to collaborate with the discounted package of $50 per person.
This initiative to create a cost-effective package ensures associations and businesses have the option to reconnect groups of people in a safe, face to face capacity, sooner rather than later.
As a PCO, it was pleasing to see that the venue could clearly outline their revised capacities and they already had a number of additional solutions and creative ideas that we could build upon.
For further information and to discuss your COVID safe conference ideas and solutions, contact Michelle Glasson at GEMS or email email@example.com.
If you would like to explore all of the options on offer at the Australian Turf Club, drop Lana Webster a line for a chat or connect with her via email.
#allinthistogether #industrysupportingindustry #gemsevents #ATC
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