As event professionals, we have always adopted risk mitigation strategies in the planning and execution of our events.
We are familiar with the most effective ones, forensic review of contracts, general liability insurance, escrow, creation of emergency plans, security detail, to name a few.
Yet in an era of Covid-19, these have progressed to include a detailed Duty of Care protocol, in conjunction with public health, to assist with ever changing regulations.
Building in layers of safety at your in-person or hybrid events is the new norm. These layers can include proof of vaccination, on-site testing, masks, spacing out delegates in larger rooms, sanitizer stations, certified pandemic on-site protocol (POPS) staff and Covid-19 waivers.
Communication is Key
Communicating to your attendees and suppliers about Duty of Care protocols is integral to instill confidence that we have the wherewithal to bring people together safely.
Communication about risk mitigation protocols has always been key; now it is an imperative and our greatest opportunity to showcase our expertise as professionals in this era. We need to demonstrate that we have considered various safety elements and can share this with our audience.
Simple things like provision of seat maps to attendees, colour coded bracelets or name tags depicting comfort levels with touch will make everyone feel more comfortable to attend.
As the world continues to embrace more F2F events, the industry is well on its road to recovery. Our responsibility lies in intentional event design with an innovative flair that engages our delegates while incorporating the risk mitigation elements outlined above.
What to do if?
Various twists on cancellation are now being considered. Such as what to do if a new variant prevents your international delegates from travelling to your medical conference? Have you discussed this possibility with your venue?
Is the Event Purpose clause in your contract? This clause is important as it describes the objective of your event and parameters for success. If those objectives cannot be met, then you can cite frustration of purpose.
Another scenario that needs to be examined with your team is how to handle a scenario where someone contracts Covid-19 at your event. What are your reimbursement policies? What is the plan with the hotel for quarantine? If that is not possible, whose responsibility is it to make arrangements to send the delegate who contracted COVID-19 home? Is the delegate or the event paying for the possible increased flight costs, and if the latter, has this contingency been built into the event budget?
Since our "world" has changed, planning a successful event has never been more complex.
We need to work closely with our various partners, sponsors, and suppliers to ensure that we are all on the same page with respect to risk assessment and implementation of best practices.
Together, we can continue to move successfully forward.
bb Blanc would like to extend a special thank you to our Guest Blogger, Malak Sidky, DES, HMCC, POSP
Malak is the founder and president of Health Care Event Planning.
Malak’s breadth of experience in the industry is vast; she has planned and executed a variety of health care educational events and projects for various clients in the health and pharmaceutical arena. Her events include think tanks, webinars, workshops, advisory board meetings, continuing medical education (CME) sessions, wellness retreats, union conventions and multi-day conferences.
Malak has a BSc in Biochemistry from McGill University and a Master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of Toronto, as well as holding the Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate. She is fluently bilingual. Malak has taught Event Planning in the School of Creative Industries at Conestoga College, Risk Management in the School of Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts at Fanshawe College and has taught Special Event Operations at Centennial College. She is a member of the Professional Development Committee for MPI Toronto and is the volunteer coordinator for Meeting Professionals Against Human Trafficking (MPAHT).
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Whether it is virtual, in-person, or hybrid, bb Blanc is here to support your unique event needs.
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