Event planning can be stressful in the best of times, but with the pandemic still raging, it has gotten a lot harder. It can be challenging to plan an event while protecting everyone from the virus, but it’s not impossible. One option is to hold the event online or outdoors to help prevent the virus spread. Another option is to only invite vaccinated people to the event, though this may rub some people the wrong way.
Ultimately, it’s up to the host and the goal and scope of the event to put the proper precautions in place, whether that means holding the event outdoors or requiring vaccine passports from guests.
Requiring Masks: Protecting the guests and dodging the political issue
Masks have become a hot-button political topic, and it’s easy to set some people off by requiring masks at an event. There are a couple of ways one can require masks without angering guests:
- Taking the scientific approach: Masks are shown to lower risk at gatherings like class reunions, high school reunions, and family get-togethers.
- Requiring masks for unvaccinated guests: Guests can hardly get angry about the mask mandate when there’s an easy way to get out of it while still protecting guests.
- Explaining that there will be immunocompromised or at-risk people at the event, so everyone must wear masks for their sake. This is good for family reunions where young children, who cannot be vaccinated, or older adults that refuse the vaccine will be present.
Masks can be required by the law depending on where the event takes place, and in general, they’re a good idea to lower the chance of transmission. These approaches can help explain the mask mandate without touching the political issue of masks. However, if there’s a mask mandate in place, the host has to make sure that it’s enforced. Masks only work if people wear them, so the host can’t be afraid to call others out on them.
It may be a good idea to put up signs at the event reminding people to wear their masks correctly and encourage others to call out people not wearing them correctly. This may anger some guests, but they were forewarned about the mask mandate ahead of time, so remind them of this fact.
Another good idea is to have masks available at the event, as some guests are sure to forget theirs. Having masks readily available helps guests cover their faces, even if their mask gets lost or destroyed.
Social Distancing Markers
Some people still have trouble keeping their distance, even after two years of practice. The event host has to make it easy for them by marking where six feet is, and the distance guests should keep from each other.
If there are seating arrangements, one should make sure to keep them six feet apart as well, or in the case of family gatherings, sit close family near each other while keeping extended family apart, even at a separate table.
An easy way to do this is to space out chairs and place names on the table where guests should sit. This helps discourage guests from rearranging chairs.
Outdoor Events and Increasing Airflow
Outdoor events can be a little less strict as the increased airflow will help lower the risk of transmission. To replicate this indoors, open windows and set up fans to artificially increase airflow.
Online Events: Holding an Event in a Virtual Venue
One way to ensure the guests are protected is to hold the event online, either over Zoom or another streaming service. This way, guests have zero risk of getting Covid-19 from the other guests, without masks, social distancing, or even the risk of traveling.
That said, the host also needs to make sure the guests have access to the service holding the event on and fast enough internet to stream. Not everyone has access to these things or isn’t technologically savvy enough to use them. The host has to be the judge of whether an online event is practical or not.
One good streaming application is Discord. It’s free to sign up and easy to create groups. It is a good Facebook groups alternative. It doubles as a messenger, and it’s possible to coordinate many activities inside it.
This leads me to the next tip: keep a schedule. While in-person events can be flexible and fun without a set schedule, it’s different online, so one may want to schedule some activities to keep the audience engaged, from fun icebreakers to easy games. This is helpful for events like class reunions or other events where guests haven’t seen each other for a long time.
Some family reunion ideas are to create a separate chat for kids to play games with the other kids or watch movies separately while the adults catch up.
Reunion planning isn’t easy, but organizing an event can be rewarding and fulfilling in its way. The host just has to consider what the event needs and what can be done to prevent the spread of Covid-19