We’re excited to put 2021 behind us and hopeful that with the years’ end, so will be the end of COVID-19! While the entire event industry is cautiously optimistic and ready for in-person events, is 2022?
We’ve excitedly signed on a few new clients for this upcoming year (details to come!), and all of them are asking the same questions:
- Do we start planning for in-person events?
- How do we plan for this year?
- What are our options?
- Can we be confident in our decision for an in-person event?
- What are the risks and possible liabilities of doing an in-person event?
Truthfully, we are taking the pandemic one day at a time and are being very careful with our communications, the planning of our event strategies, and any pre-planning for future events at this time. We do want our clients and those in our industry to be making confident, yet safe choices for the future.
Thanks to updates from the Alberta Live Events Coalition, here are a few restrictions to be mindful of when starting the planning process for events in venues following the Restrictions Exemption Program:
- 50 per cent capacity limit at venues that seat more than 1,000 people
- 500 and 1,000 occupants, 500 is the limit
- No food or drink consumption in seated audience settings, or during intermissions
- No impact on venues under 500
- There are specific requirements for each business and households
Please refer to https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus for all up-to-date information.
So, what is our stance on in-person events right now? We believe that in-person events aren’t a safe idea in Alberta, but hopeful that it’ll be safer come spring/summer. It’s important to note that this sentiment is ours and may not be shared by others.
In fact, there are some polarizing opinions across North America:
- Currently in Ontario, the province is transitioning back to a shut down, from restaurants to venues and everything in between.
- One of the most influential tech events in the world, CES, was held in-person in Las Vegas for the first time in two years. According to Event MB, critics have called for its cancellation and major exhibitors have pulled out, but an astounding 60,000 visitors and 2,200 exhibitors still attended.
As we reach the year two mark of COVID, it’s frustrating and we personally are ready to say goodbye to the virus. That said, we’re not ready to give up hope just yet – we’ll see the return of full in-person events one day, we just have a tough winter of following health orders and regulations to get through first.
Since we don’t know what’s in store over the next while, we would encourage you to remember that communication is key. If you’re unsure of the status of your event, set a date to make a decision (about cancelation or date change) and let your audience know your plan sooner than later. Be sure to have a communication strategy in place for refunds, etc. And if you have the flexibility and time, investigate hybrid or fully digital options. Unlike traditional venues, digital spaces rarely run out of availability, so you can easily shift to virtual if needed.
If you’re like us and are signing on new clients, make sure that they understand your stance on in-person events and exactly where the province lies with health regulations, so they are not breaking any laws or putting their reputation in jeopardy.
By having these hard conversations with clients, we are ensuring that we’re all on the same page and are mitigating any potential conflicts that may arise if/when tough decisions have to be made. We’re all about mitigating risk, liabilities, and putting everyone’s health and safety first.
Overall, we are not out of this yet, but we are getting closer! We’d like to make the confident (perhaps we will be eating our words) prediction that in-person events will be back by the summer. Be smart about your future planning and always assess the risk.
Wishing you a prosperous, successful, and safe 2022!
– Your Tycoon, Steph XO