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.

What is a COVID Marshal

If you want to get your premises back up and running right now, you need a COVID Marshal. They have the awareness, knowledge and confidence to make sure your visitors and staff actively follow the latest rules and restrictions. 

And who needs a COVID Marshal? 

Practically every customer-facing business. But the venues and events industry most of all… 

Join us as we examine this new professional service – and how we’re taking things a step further.

The basics of a COVID Marshal

Simply put, a standard COVID Marshal is anyone hired to keep the spread of coronavirus down. They monitor distancing, queueing and even hygiene procedures. They also remind people which guidelines they should be sticking to. 

Councils around the country are hiring their own Marshals, using a £60 million government package announced in October. Until recently, it’s been confined to the public sector: wardens, groundskeepers and council workers, who don’t need specific training beyond general COVID safety. 

But more private-hire COVID Marshals are cropping up. Businesses are recognising the need for this support – the need for someone who can watch over their attendees and step in to solve any problems should they occur.

What to expect from a regular Marshal

There are certain duties that a COVID Marshal can fulfill: 

  • Check and enforce social distancing 
  • Set up compliant queue lanes 
  • Ask people to use face masks, if they aren’t wearing one and aren’t exempt
  • Help with cleaning railings, counters, handles, seats and tables
  • Provide guidance on what to do and where to go
  • Liaise with the police if someone flouts the rules consistently 

They patrol, sanitise and support everything you’re doing on the day. But this is just the beginning. We wanted to bring a next-level COVID Marshal service to UK businesses, based on our extensive health, safety and emergency response skills.

What we bring to COVID Marshals

Dependable Forces are recognised fire safety experts. We have OSHCR and IOSH credentials, as well as access to over 250 trained Marshals around the country. Yet we’re also experts in the events trade. We can act under pressure whilst ensuring your occasion goes seamlessly, and that all the right COVID-19 prevention measures are in place. 

Our COVID Marshals will also:

  • Conduct audits and risk assessments 
  • Improve and prepare your space in line with local rules and guidelines 
  • Train your own staff on COVID-19 prevention best practices
  • Calibrate temperature checkers in advance 
  • Scan temperatures, take tickets and hand out wristbands
  • Help with entry and evacuation
  • Intervene if we have to (including using First Aid)
  • Provide daily, weekly and monthly reports for you

With us, everything’s clear and under control. That means that you can stay open and profitable. Our service is way more than a figure in a hi-vis jacket – we’re a thorough, forward-thinking team that’s ready to do what it takes to help the hospitality and events sector get back up and running. To us, it’s what the industry really deserves.

You can find out more about Dependable Forces here Who Are Dependable Forces?. But if you’re still wondering why you should call us, look out for Part 2 of our COVID Marshal explainer article. We’ll be tackling all the benefits in greater detail.

Who Are Dependable Forces?

Everything we thought we knew about events and venue control has been scattered to the four winds. Right now – and post-pandemic – businesses don’t just have to follow a much bigger rulebook. The book itself keeps changing. 

There’s a delicate line to walk too: can you implement the rules without spoiling the atmosphere you’ve worked so hard to build? 

Overcrowding and poor safety measures could already harm events. Now they’re a matter of government policy. To navigate these changes and avoid becoming a cautionary tale,  organisers and venues need a calm, confident force for compliance.

Dependable Forces are a seasoned team of professionals who not only come from the events industry, but have the skills and wherewithal to think on our feet, step in and act fast. With us, you’re in good hands – and not just for COVID-era checks. For any event you run. 

Can we introduce ourselves?

Who we are

We emerged when the founders of emc3 (an award-winning events brand) and TEAM Safety Services (an accredited health, safety and fire consultancy) joined forces. emc3 are renowned for their high-concept, end-to-end events management. TEAM, meanwhile, bring the specialist risk awareness. They’ve now pooled their insider knowledge of the events industry with essential compliance expertise.

Dependable Forces founder Ellis was in the fire service for 20 years. His business partner, Tony, is a chartered member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. Together, we wanted to help events organisers find a way of managing risks and regulations, without taking away from the experience they want to deliver. 

Today, we’ve amassed over 750 first responders around the UK. They combine emergency training and response with a first-hand understanding of the events sector.

What we do

The crux of our work is planning and delivering a safe event in line with the latest government guidelines. This enables you to focus on creating an effortless experience – whatever the circumstances.

Our work involves four key stages: 

Conduct a risk assessment – We look at location, context and local virus transmission rates. Everything’s held against the prospect of general safety as well as measures that are unique to COVID-19. 

Build an event strategy – This gauges the physical prep involved (including spacing, partitions, marked floor lanes and hand sanitiser), as well as how we’ll manage the flow of attendees (such as through main access routes, encouraging online registration, communicating the message, or limiting crowds with a ‘hybrid’ event model). We’ll put all of the right equipment in place, like masks and temperature checkers, while sourcing your suppliers’ H&S documentation. 

Ensure event delivery Beforehand, we’ll train your staff in the latest hygiene and distancing techniques. Then, on the day itself, we’ll have a physical presence. Our trained COVID Marshals keep an eye on everybody, making sure they’re sticking to the guidelines. We can advise, direct and reinforce what has to happen for you to stay compliant. Any incidents? We’ll step in immediately. 

Provide a post-event analysis – This reviews every control measure that we implemented. We also feed in attendee comments: what they thought about the event, what they wanted to see from its safety procedures, etc. Plus, we learn whether anyone developed symptoms on-site. If they did, we’ll tell the relevant health authority. All findings are shared with you, providing learnings for the future.

As you can see, our support is so much more than a risk assessment or hi-vis jacket. Dependable Forces offers a hands-on service: a pair of extra-vigilant eyes in the background, ready to act when needed. Yet we don’t tread on any toes; the event runs without stress or intrusion.

Get back on your feet in the right way

We’ll explain more about our COVID Marshals soon. For now, rest assured that we’re here for you and your audience. So put on a show. Start pouring the drinks. Earn again. We’ll be there, to one side, helping it happen without ever drawing attention from the spectacle. 

All it takes is a quick call with our experts

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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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