After so long of meeting through a screen, we are all excited for the return of in-person meetings and events. But what does these look like? Will there be a need for QR codes? Will we need COVID passes? What are the codes of conduct for attendees? The government has released additional guidance for event planners as England moves to Step 4. We’re here to help you work through these guidelines to ensure delegate safety.
The newly-published guidance applies to indoor or outdoor events of any size and is intended to inform event professionals’ planning and business operations from 19 July onwards.
The full advice can be read here. We caught up with Kim Cavilla to go through some of the key points from the advice and how we can support clients:
Planners are advised to continue to display an NHS QR code for customers wishing to check in using the app, to help reduce the spread of the virus and protect customers, visitors and staff. However, there is no legal obligation to ask customers to check in, nor do planners have the right to turn people away if they refuse to check in.
Kim’s response: We will continue to work with both the client and the venue to ensure the necessary NHS QR codes are displayed and part of the onsite delegate registration process. We will advise delegates pre-event of what to expect when they arrive and to ensure they have the App ready. We will also have our own electronic database of all delegates that will have attended the event. Therefore, should a case reported, we have the ability to share this with the client and notify delegates directly.
Organisers are asked to consider using the NHS COVID Pass to reduce the risk of transmission at venues and events. The Government will work with organisations that operate large, crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of the NHS COVID Pass. The NHS COVID Pass will be available through the NHS App, the NHS website, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Visitors will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results. The Government will publish more guidance on using the NHS Covid Pass shortly.
Kim’s response: We will of course adhere to any future guidelines where the NHS COVID Pass will be required. We will work with clients on an individual basis to determine the scale of the event and whether passes will be necessary.
If an attendee presents with symptoms, or you become aware of a case of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 on-site, they should not be admitted or should be asked to leave the facility or event, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment. Where possible, the customer should be assessed on-site and encouraged to take a supervised lateral flow test. Any customer returning a positive result from a lateral flow test must be required to leave the facility or event. Where medical and testing facilities are not available on-site, event organisers should use their own discretion in managing instances where an attendee presents on site with COVID-19 symptoms. This could include refusing entry.
Kim’s response: We are fully trained in COVID HSSE and are proud to have undertaken a course during the pandemic to ensure we can always advise our clients. As a matter of course we will be advising all clients to ensure lateral flow tests are carried out by delegates pre-event. Should anyone present a positive result, they will be asked to stay home and isolate. Throughout the event, our trained experts will manage the COVID risk assessment and take any action required for the safety of the delegates.
Ensure you discuss ventilation and cleaning with the venue operator, to check you are comfortable with their risk management protocols. You should agree with the venue in advance any additional measures you will take to manage risk, such as opening windows to increase ventilation.
Kim’s response: As part of our site inspection, we will understand the level of ventilation with the venue. We will determine the opportunities to increase this and include this within our risk assessments.
Encourage customers and visitors to wear face coverings, for example through signage, if your facility or event is likely to include enclosed and crowded spaces. Face coverings are no longer required by law, but the government expects and recommends that people should continue to wear them in crowded and enclosed settings, to protect themselves and others. Your workers may choose to wear a face covering in the workplace. You should support them in doing so.
Kim’s response: Although face coverings are not required by law, we will assess each event on an individual basis as to whether face coverings should be recommended. This will be determined by delegate numbers, the space where the event is being held, and the nature of the event. For example, where delegates are sat down for a conference or seminar, in a well-ventilated room where delegates are sat spaced apart, face coverings might not be necessary. But when they’re moving around the venue and in communal areas, we may ask them to wear their face coverings.
Put in place a communications plan to ensure relevant information on COVID-19 measures is communicated to attendees before and during the event. Ensure that any relevant requirements or conditions of entry and requirements (such as the NHS COVID Pass or negative test requirements) are well-communicated at the point of sale. Onsite signage and audio messaging should provide up-to-date information on any attendee obligations or requirements.
Kim’s response: We provide a communications plan for all our large-scale events and already include specific sections to cover COVID-19. This communications plan is shared with all key stakeholders to ensure it’s clear and understood on what’s required and when.
Organisers may want to issue a code of conduct to attendees, as part of their pre-event communications. This could include asking attendees to agree that they will: undertake their own health risk assessment; check for symptoms of COVID-19 before travelling to the event; and not attend the event if they need to self-isolate.
Kim’s response: Duty of care is so important to us. We believe everyone should respect any code of conduct that is set in place for any event. As I mentioned before, we will encourage all delegates to carry out lateral flow tests before the event. This is to protect themselves and everyone involved and to ensure we provide this duty of care. Depending on the nature of the event, there will also be certain requirements outlined to ensure delegate safety. As part of our pre-event communications, will promote this messaging to ensure they are aware of what is expected from them before and during the event.
We are doing what we can to ensure delegates feel safe as we learn to manage events alongside COVID-19. If you’d like to know more about our duty of care, and how we put delegates at the heart of our events, get in touch.