Cases of COVID-19 are rising across Australia again, with suggestions we’re in for another peak of infections in December – just in time for Christmas. And while we’re all fed up with COVID, the reality is feeling unwell over Christmas is a major buzz kill, as is worrying about which grandmother or newborn baby you may have passed it on to.
No one wants to expose their colleagues, clients or communities to COVID, if they can help it, as we head into a season of gatherings and events celebrating the year.
Luckily as you plan your end-of-year events, there are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of COVID at your event.
1) If you haven’t locked in your venue yet, chose one with outdoor space and choose a larger space than you need. Think rooftop event spaces, courtyards, gardens, terraces and laneways. Spaces with high ceilings will also give you an advantage over COVID.
2) Consider outdoor event options which provide weather protection – marquees and tee pee tents can make for a stunning event aesthetic.
3) If you have already booked your venue, talk to the venue team about maximising fresh and new air in indoor spaces – either through optimising the settings on their ventilation systems or simply by opening external windows or doors.
4) Design your event layout to encourage attendees to spread out – space out your food services areas and activations. If you have outdoor space, put some of these outside to encourage attendees into the fresh air.
5) Consider having smaller gatherings – you could organise several smaller events for different parts of your team to celebrate.
6) Communicate with your staff. Encourage them to check they’re up to date with their COVID vaccinations and ask them to stay home if they’re feeling unwell – both from the office and from end-of-year celebrations. Encourage the use of rapid COVID tests for those with cold or flu symptoms.
7) Invite fewer people to your event. Consider the size of your space when putting together your invite list. Everyone perceives the risk of COVID-19 differently, based on their own personal circumstances and it’s important to provide enough space that those who don’t want to be in the throng of the crowd still feel comfortable at the event.
8) Consider holding a celebration in the new year. Holding events in January or February has several advantages – the COVID peak will likely have passed and there is greater venue availability in these months, meaning you’re also likely to get a better deal.