What Does The Return To Events Really Look Like?

With some vaccines already being deployed – and many more in development – to fight the coronavirus, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the events scene will return to normal in 2021. 

But in reality, a vaccine can’t solve our problems overnight. Or even in a matter of months. In the words of David Salisbury, former Director of Immunisation at the Department of Health, we’re going to be “vaccine plus” for the time being. Distancing and hygiene must play a role until the virus becomes less deadly or the vast majority of the UK receive their COVID-19 shot. 

This begs the question: what will the near-future look like for promoters, performers and audiences? Join us as we dissect the real state of events to come.

Clear distancing rules

The two-metre rule isn’t going away. Crowds will have to comply and adjust. 

If you want to reopen a venue, you’ll need to think about any environmental strategies to reduce contact, queueing and congestion. Floor lanes must be marked. Signage should support it. You may have to limit close seating or erect screens between them. Unfortunately, capacity will suffer, which means ticket prices could rise.

More marshals for outdoor events

It’s easy to assume that open-air gigs and festivals are the answer. Yet distancing measures will be harder to enforce; people are more likely to wander around, bump into each other,  and breach protocols. 

The Forty-Five sums it up best: “events that are normally the opposite of orderly and calm” will be ripe for reimagining. Appointing COVID Marshals What Is A COVID Marshal? is one tactic that will make a big difference. They can keep an eye on behaviour and remind ticket holders of their responsibility to each other.

Satellite and hybrid experiences

We’re all so used to Zoom meetings and bedroom gigs that organisers may want to experiment with half-physical, half-digital programming. A spot on a conference, panel talk or show can be sold at a regular price for actual attendees, and at a discounted cost for those watching at home. 

Meanwhile, there’s a strong case for putting on satellite events around the main event – in other words, smaller gatherings that are localised and tied to your theme. Streaming and social media can connect audiences from different cities (and even countries) so they feel part of the grander experience. 

Smaller stage acts

Distancing may affect some performances too. Euro News has touched on the fact that we may see a reduction in the performances of orchestras, troupes and large ensembles unless there’s a stage large enough to keep them sufficiently apart. 

Instead, expect to see more duos and trios in the concert space. Creative acts will have to scale down or rethink their arrangements to comply with distancing rules whilst continuing to deliver value for money. And what about organisers? Festivals, theatres and cultural events must also fall in line without losing their magic. We understand the rules are ever-changing. So we’re here to help you navigate health and safety procedures, wherever and whenever they shift.

Mass testing and vaccine checks

15-minute tests hold massive potential for the events industry. We’ve already written about the great strides taken by Liverpool as a UK test model Rapid Testing Is Coming. 

While these tests only detect the amount of the virus in your body at a given time (making them less reliable when the virus is dormant), they can identify ticket holders who are infectious. This is good news when we look at the “potential ideas” proposed by sites like Ticketmaster, such as verifying that an audience member has been vaccinated or has tested negative before allowing their entry to the event. 

Whatever the future holds, Dependable Forces are here to make your return to events as safe, secure, and yet as spellbinding for your audiences as ever. Attendees will take a little while to feel confident again. But we’re ready with detailed risk assessments, on-site assistance, and our fingers firmly on the pulse of changing COVID-19 rules. 

Talk to us for more details about our training programmes, compliance checks and safety marshal cover.

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We are a collective of Health & Safety, Fire Safety and Events Experts with over 70 years combined industry experience.

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