DISCLAIMER: This blog post is meant to supplement —not replace — any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply.
Also, are we even “post-COVID” at this point? Who knows.
Let’s be real.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone miss getting real face time with each other.
Who thought we would be missing going into the office?
Or taking a crowded train?
Or doing any number of the seemingly mundane pre-COVID things we used to do.
If you’re struggling with Zoom fatigue, you are certainly not alone. No one could have guessed that this pandemic would still be with us more than a whole year later.
So, maybe you’re thinking of having an in-person event or retreat for your clients.
Thanks to the work of brilliant frontline workers and scientists, we know a LOT more about ways we can be in person together while still being safe.
But, even with all the hand-sanitizer in the world, there are still risks when it comes to hosting in-person events before a sufficient amount of the population is vaccinated.
Here at Coaches & Co., we are NOT the biggest fans of *risks.* 🙅🏽♀️
But luckily, we have all the tips and tricks to protect you from the legal risks that come with hosting an in-person event under the current circumstances.
So, without further ado, here is your guide to hosting an in-person event in 2021.👇🏽
1. Keep Event Size in Mind
As much as you might want to have a huge event after not seeing all of your pals for such a long time … ❌ DON’T. ❌
The last thing you want is for your event to be a superspreader gathering.
Only have the number of people that can fit in your event space while maintaining a 6-foot distance from one another.
This needs to be maintained AT. ALL.TIMES. In eating areas, lineups, washrooms, etc.
If there are areas within the venue that do not allow for this kind of distancing, close ’em off to your guests. You can’t take those kinds of risks.
Consult with the venue management and they should have the best idea of how many people can occupy the space and what protocols to take to keep everyone safe.
2. Have a Liability Waiver
This tip is important.
You MUST have every guest sign a liability waiver.
This waiver must clearly state that each attendee must provide the results of a negative COVID test within 48/72 hours [UNCLEAR FROM AUDIO] of the event.
On this waiver, you also need to include instructions for how to submit those results to your team and have that system set up prior to opening registration.
The liability waiver is to shield yourself from any unnecessary liability should any attendee contract COVID-19 or any other illness during their time at your event.
Outline the risks, get everyone’s consent, and you are good to proceed (with caution of course!). ✅
3. Remind People to Keep Their Distance
Yes, we’ve been in this for over a year now, but it never hurts to remind people about the importance of social distancing.
In fact, it is absolutely necessary to do so.
That way, if someone DOESN’T keep their distance and ends up contracting COVID, no one can say you didn’t do everything in your power to help enforce social distancing.
And you have to do this consistently.
Prior to the event, send reminders by email and text.
And during the event, remember to do so verbally as well as with signs discouraging people from making any physical contact or standing or sitting within 6 feet of one another.
Encourage your staff and the venue staff to enforce these measures.
It’s your responsibility as the host to make sure everyone is doing what is best to keep the attendees and staff safe.
Here’s an official social distancing sign made by the CDC that you can print and post during your event.
4. Conduct Health Checks
The CDC recommends that any in-person activities provide health checks for every participant.
This means conducting a temperature screening, a symptom-checking questionnaire, and sometimes even rapid testing.
Some venues will have the supplies for this, so be sure to ask ahead of time about their procedures.
If your event spans over the course of a few days, you must complete this every single day of the event.
No cutting corners — this stuff is serious!
5. Have Materials On Hand
You don’t want your attendees to have any excuse to be unsafe.
This means you need to stock up on pandemic must-haves: hand-sanitizer, soap, paper towels, gloves, wipes, disinfecting spray, face masks, face shields, etc. ✅
Every guest should have what they need at their convenience.
That way, it’s easy for them to abide by the safety protocols and doesn’t make their responsibilities as an attendee feel like a hassle.
They can stay safe and enjoy your event to the fullest! 💃🏽✨
6. Avoid Buffet-Style Meals
As easy as buffets can be, it is way less *risky* to go to the boxed or plated lunch route.
This allows attendees to avoid touching serving utensils and standing in lines together near the food. Plus, no one else will get close to each meal except the person eating it.
Save the buffets for post-pandemic life. Trust us.
7. Clean Consistently
You need to establish a system with your staff and the venue staff for how you plan to clean consistently and periodically throughout the event.
The venue may have support that they can provide you, in which case TAKE IT.
Otherwise, assign a team member who is the designated cleaning person that keeps track of what needs to be cleaned and when.
This should be someone whose only job is to sanitize and disinfect all spaces throughout the day including tables, chairs, door handles, countertops, and any other shared spaces and surfaces.
This is going to make things take longer. Budget for that, because it IS worth it.
Create a protocol and a checklist for those scheduled cleanings throughout the day to make sure that nothing is slipping through the cracks.
Protect your guests and protect yourself. 💛
8. Establish Your Refund Policy
Before you open up registration, decide what your refund policy looks like.
If someone is unable to attend the event because they’ve tested positive for COVID-19, will you offer a refund?
Will it be a full refund? A partial refund? Or, will there be no refund at all?
Will you give them the option of joining virtually instead?
And as always, this needs to be clear to your attendees at registration.
This will save you the headache of dealing with unhappy folks who have not only tested positive for COVID, but also have to miss out on your bomb event.
9. Offer a Virtual Attendance Option
COVID is scary.
And there are gonna be people that still don’t feel safe going to an in-person event for personal reasons, health reasons, and more.
No need to exclude those folks! 💛
We’ve all gotten used to pivoting into online solutions, so let’s keep doing that.
Offering a virtual attendance option makes the event more accessible to a wider group of people and means that even if someone needs to stay at home because of a positive test or extra precaution, they can still attend and you won’t lose their registration fee.
Start thinking about how to provide the best virtual attendance experience for your guests.
Consider livestreaming all of your sessions and maybe even sending a swag bag or gift box to their house beforehand!
Just because it isn’t safe for someone to attend in person doesn’t mean they can’t have an amazing experience with your event.
If you are itching to get back to in-person events but worried about all the risks that come with it, don’t be.
As always, we’ve got you covered. Legally, at least!
All the sanitizing and hand-washing is on you, sis. 🧼
We want to make sure that your next in-person event goes off without a hitch so you can provide a memorable experience for your attendees while limiting risks as much as possible.
This is where our In-Person Event Bundle comes in.👇🏽
This is a bundle composed of two documents that you need to help shield you from liability when hosting any in-person events in 2021.
It includes the pre-event waiver and the symptom-screening form/waiver to be signed by each guest upon their arrival.
Reminder, these are supplementary tips to the existing government guidelines. The official CDC guidelines regarding limiting the spread of COVID-19 can be found here.
Coaches & Co. wants you to get back to what you do best and be able to do that while being protected.
Be safe and have fun! 💛
Check out our ready-to-use, lawyer-approved, plug-and-play legal contract templates! So you can upgrade your client contract while staying Profitable & Protected™✨
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*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.