Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

Articles > Building Your Community > As lockdown loosens, how can you host in-person events safely?

As lockdown loosens, how can you host in-person events safely?

Social distancing has prompted a rethink of events, a sector hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis  
Around the world, the first glimmers of hope can be seen for the events business that was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Large gatherings were cancelled or postponed, or shifted online. But now the lockdown is being loosened — and it’s not just schools that are reopening.
In the UK, at least some of the hospitality industry could restart in July, albeit with social-distancing measures still in place. Many hotels in pockets of Europe, such as Spain and Greece, as well as in China have reopened. While in Australian and New Zealand both countries have largely dropped maximum capacity restrictions. 
But the social distancing has prompted a rethink of events. The organisers are keen to resume in-person meet-ups and some venues are working hard to open safely. How or when events restart remains an open question, but when they do, attendance will be limited and there will be strict PPE and sanitation measures put in place.  
These are just some of the measures event-organisers can consider, so as to ensure a safe and successful resumption of business that could not come quickly enough.  

Social distancing

Social distance guidelines vary around the world, but most governments have settled on between one and up to four meters spacing between people in public spaces to reduce the chance of transmission of COVID-19 (handshakes are strictly forbidden). This will significantly limit capacity at events, meaning that organisers will have to get creative to ensure maximum capacity and minimum disruption.
Seats should be dispersed accordingly and numbered, to avoid attendees coming into unnecessary contact while searching for a chair. Separate entrances to avoid crowding around doors is also a good idea, as is spreading out parking spots if possible. Given space is at a premium, organisers should be strict on RSVPs and may consider asking for a deposit to reserve a spot. It makes sense to extend the event’s length and stagger delegates to maximise attendance.

Venue selection

Choosing the right venue will be crucial to holding a successful socially-distanced event. The place will need adequate space, but it also makes sense to choose one that has its own strict internal policies around COVID-19.
Hotels, including the Four Seasons and Marriott chains, are insisting on temperature checks on arrival for guests, and mandatory mask wearing to reduce the chance of transmission. At any venue, you could consider asking your delegates to wear face coverings and gloves, or provide them with such items on entry, along with hand sanitiser. Pre-made individual meals (no buffets), virtual check-ins and spaced out lifts and corridors are also common measures. In many venues, there are friendly wardens to direct people about.
Meanwhile, venues need a good sanitation service. Many are having to regularly clean tables and chairs to reduce the risk of infection. It makes sense to clarify a cleaning commitment when choosing a venue.


Technology may also be part of the solution, with hotel or conference services being made available digitally to lesson physical touchpoints. Conferences were already moving in this direction, with attendees posing questions to speakers and leaving feedback via smartphones. Brochures and timetables could also be put online, virtual check-ins enabled, and instant audience polling can be done digitally. So this not only makes events safer but potentially improves engagement too.
The reopening of events will be a positive development for schools and especially development offices looking to engage with their alumni. Organisers will need to be creative and adapt to a new normal. The lockdown measures present many challenges, but they have also highlighted the innate human need for connection. That may only be a good thing for the events business.

ToucanTech is a community database software used by schools and companies to manage their events, including virtual meetings and social-distanced events, development, communication, campaigns, and much more. Learn how you can use ToucanTech software to engage your community online by requesting a demo here.

Similar stories

Terry Snow donates $20 million to his alma mater, Canberra Grammar School. More...

ToucanTech interviews Nicole Holgate, Communications Officer of DataKind UK More...

Everyone has their own technique when it comes to working efficiently from home. Our ToucanTech team shares some of thei… More...

Show me the all-in-one system

Tell us where you're based and we'll match you with a product expert

Most read

Q&A with ToucanTech

Find out how we protect and store data at ToucanTech as we answer some of our most frequently asked questions. More...

Find out how to tackle the key challenges facing membership clubs, from handling data to personalising your members' experiences More...

5 practical ways to add value to your membership community

Check out these five practical ways to add value to your members to help build and maintain a thriving membership community. More...


Request a demo

Contact Support:

Contact Sales:

Give us a call: 
UK: +44 (0) 203 189 1774 
AUS: +61 (0) 7 3186 8774
US: +1 (831) 226 8774  

Follow us on social:

This website is powered by