Mass events are known to increase the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, and the reason is simple: the more people a person is around, the greater the chance they will be exposed to the virus. Aside from being exposed to more people, mass gatherings often involve travel, providing countless opportunities for guests to come into contact with the virus. Public transportation vehicles, transportation hubs, and shared spaces can all increase the risk of viral spread.
COVID-19 Safety Precautions for Mass Events
While mass events increase the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, that doesn’t mean all events are canceled. Event planners across the U.S. are being more intentional about the measures they are putting in place to protect their attendees and staff. Here are seven ways event planners are hosting safer events during the pandemic.
- Mandating vaccines. The vaccines currently approved and authorized in the United States are effective in preventing COVID-19. Therefore, many event planners are requiring their guests and staff to be fully vaccinated before entering event sites.
- Requiring testing. Because not everyone is vaccinated and breakthrough cases can occur, some sponsors are requiring guests and event staff to take a COVID-19 test to enter the event site. Sponsors may have guests present a negative test taken within a few days from the event or have testing available at the event. By doing so, sponsors identify people testing positive and prevent them from attending the function.
- Encouraging masks. Masks have been an effective tool in mitigating the spread of the virus. Event sponsors may only require event staff to wear a mask to protect them while working. Alternatively, event organizers may require event staff and attendees to wear masks as an added layer of precaution for everyone on site.
- Practicing social distancing. Social distancing is another tool that may be effective in mitigating the risk of COVID-19. When appropriate, some event sponsors create separate areas for each group and limit group sizes. They may also establish procedures that prevent guests from crowding in high-traffic areas, including entrances, exits, bathrooms, or other areas where lines form.
- Supporting frequent handwashing. Many event planners are incorporating measures that support and encourage frequent handwashing. For example, they often add handwashing and sanitizing stations around the event site along with signage that reminds people to wash their hands.
- Hosting outdoor events. The location of an event can also play a role in the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Outdoor events pose a lower risk of transmission than indoor events, primarily because the ventilation tends to be poorer in enclosed spaces. When outside, fresh air constantly moves, so people are less likely to inhale respiratory droplets from an infected person.
- Ensuring indoor events sites are properly ventilated. For indoor events, organizers can ensure the venue is properly ventilated by making sure the building’s HVAC system is working properly. Organizers may also open windows to improve airflow or reduce occupancy.
Keep Guests Safe With COVID-19 Testing
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s important for event planners to continue to take precautions to keep guests, staff, and communities safe. Pala Diagnostics offers concierge COVID-19 testing services for businesses, K-12 schools, universities, event sites, medical offices, hospitality groups, and more. Contact us today to design a custom protocol specifically for your needs.