After so many months of restrictions and cancelled events, it’s fair to say we are all more than ready for some normality to resume. As we move through the summer and into fall, it’s anticipated that all kinds of events, from festivals to commercial trade shows, will start to resume.
But as we’ve blogged about previously, these events will take a lot longer to get back to their pre-pandemic ‘normal’ – if they ever do. We’ve learned some tough lessons over the past 18 months, and the resulting caution about infection control is likely to become intrinsic to our planning of large gatherings of people for years to come.
The good news is that this natural cautiousness doesn’t have to impact negatively on the spirit and the atmosphere of the big events we all enjoy. With some careful planning and innovative tools, we can forge ahead with events this year while ensuring we minimise the risk to public health.
There are three key aspects to creating a safe event space: information, circulation and protection. Let’s look at each element and how we can support safety without impacting on enjoyment!
Keeping people informed and aware is a vital part of keeping them safe. This principle has been part of event management for hundreds of years – for example, making sure people can easily find an exit or a first aider when required.
Post-pandemic, we believe it will become an accepted and normal part of event safety to also remind event attendees about infection control protocols. This might mean prompting them to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, or to stand behind a screen when queuing for admission or refreshments. It might mean general health and safety messaging around hand hygiene or sneezing into a tissue. It might also involve informing people about one way entrance and exit systems, how to avail of rapid testing or alerting them to signs and symptoms that mean they shouldn’t be attending your event at all.
Whatever the purpose of the information, displaying it prominently does two things – first, it makes sure that people actually see and understand the message, and second, it sends a strong visual signal to all event attendees that you are being proactive in terms of ensuring your event is well-organized and safe. Our range of banner, trade & information stands includes lots of options for large, small, indoor, and outdoor displays to help you get your information noticed at the point of need, wherever that may be!
A big takeaway from the past 18 months has been the importance of space and distance when it comes to infection control. Creating safe spaces for future events means it’s vital to ensure that people – and the air they breathe – can circulate freely within the available space. As well as impacting on venue capacity for future events, this will influence the way indoor events are set up.
Event organisers are less likely to pack so many exhibitors and visitors into their venues, and may even move to larger venues so they can give people extra space. This extra space may mean larger pitches for exhibitors – which might require bigger trade stands, or larger scale information displays that can be easily seen from a distance. We’ll see much more in the way of queue management systems and one-way foot traffic inside venues, which will require careful signposting.
As well as displaying wayfinding and other safety information, our products can be used to help event organizers divide or zone their indoor spaces for improved safety. Our Swiftscreen range in particular is ideal for directing foot traffic or creating zones for presentations, seminars or even 1-2-1 meetings, while allowing these spaces to be easily sanitized in between sessions.
It seems almost unthinkable now that we used to go in and out of indoor premises without sanitizing our hands, or that staff manning reception desks and admission booths would do so without any protection from the coughs and sneezes of hundreds of visitors each day.
Businesses and organizations of all kinds have realized that protecting their staff from illness – not just new viruses, but the regular bugs – can save them significant amounts of lost time and revenue across the year. As a result, hand sanitizer stations and germ screens are likely to become a permanent feature of many venues, including exhibition centres, arenas and other locations where events are typically held.
For these spaces in particular, it makes sense to have portable infrastructure that can be moved around and reconfigured to suit different even types and crowd sizes. Frontline offers a range of tools designed to protect event staff and visitors from infection, including industrial, high volume hand sanitizer stations and innovative screening tools like our Swiftscreen range, which offers full height, portable and seated screen options to cater for all requirements. These items are designed for ease of use and minimal obtrusiveness, so they slot seamlessly into your event, keeping people protected without distracting from the overall atmosphere or environment.
For more information on how Frontline can support safe events this year and beyond, get in touch!