Let’s All Do Our Part in Keeping Convention and Conference Attendees Safe
As concerns mount on COVID-19, the new coronavirus, conference and event organizers are facing a difficult decision: cancel the event or proceed with caution.
As Las Vegas Event Photographers who collaborate with convention and meeting planners from around the world, we have tremendous empathy for our colleagues and clients in this stressful situation. Certainly, the ongoing news coverage about the coronavirus adds to the pressure these planners and the companies they represent are experiencing on all fronts.
At the same time, we are in a unique position to witness significant positive changes happening in the world of events. Many meeting planners and companies have decided rather than cancel their events, to boldy proceed with them by implementing measures to safeguard the health of their attendees. Here are some ideas to consider for your next event.
Ideas to Help Safeguard Attendee Health at Your Next Event
- Ban the shaking of hands at your events. Instead, ask attendees to greet others with an elbow tap or a fist bump.
- Distribute reminders of your handshake ban. Consider handing-out buttons at check-in that say, “No handshakes” or place the “No Handshake” message on name tags or on printed signage throughout the event.
- Request that high touch areas be disinfected more frequently. This includes elevator button panels, escalator rails, staircase railings and door handles.
- Remind attendees to wash their hands regularly – especially after restroom use, before and after meal breaks and before each session. Reminders can be communicated in regular announcements from the stage and in printed signage on display throughout the event.
- Distribute a Care Package at check-in. Consider including a printed welcome message with information about the safety measures you’ve taken to ensure attendee health as well as a list of healthy practices individuals can implement during the conference. Other items to include: small containers of hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, tissues, mints, bottled water, etc.
- Make purified water readily available. Encourage your attendees to stay hydrated during your event by making filtered water available at all times.
- Offer healthy food options. Menus high in fresh fruit, salads and vegetables and low in processed food and sugar will help keep everyone’s immune system working optimally.
What Your Attendees Can Do to Protect Themselves and Others From Getting Sick
These guidelines from the World Health Organization are no different than practices you would implement to protect yourself during flu season. We encourage you to copy and paste them into a document to share with your attendees.
- Do not attend the event if you are not feeling well or are experiencing any symptoms of illness whatsoever. For your sake and the sake of all attendees, please stay home.
- Practice proper hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and especially after bathroom use. Always wash hands before and after food preparation and eating. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use alcohol-based rub.
- Do not touch your face especially your eyes, nose and mouth. These are the main routes a virus uses to to enter your system.
- Practice proper coughing etiquette. Cough into your elbow or a tissue. If you cough into a tissue, discard the tissue into a trash can and immediately wash your hands.
- If you get sick, wear a mask when around others. Masks are effective for people who are sick as it keeps them from transmitting the virus. For people who are not sick, masks are not very effective.
- Drink plenty of water. One of the many reasons for drinking water is that it keeps toxins and waste products from taking up residence in your body which can lead to illness.
- Choose the healthiest, freshest food available at the event. The healthier the foods you eat, the stronger your immune system will be and the better able to fight off infection.
It’s important for all of us to maintain a sense of normalcy in our lives when confronted with any challenge or interruption to business as usual. Rather than surrender to fear and panic, this is an opportunity for us to rise to the occasion and make informed and innovative decisions to keep ourselves, our customers and our businesses healthy and thriving.