5 Ways to Plan Covid-Safe Events

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Crowd safety and social distancing will shape the new era of events. From re-designed entrance areas to allow for vaccine passport checks, to crowd flow, plus the need to calculate optimum capacity whilst adhering to social distancing regulations, and more. These new pressures on event organisers bring an opportunity to re-assess how to plan safe and successful outdoor events.

We constantly learn from how our customers design events – as you’ll see in our monthly insight posts (see: The Rise in Planning Covid-Safe Events). So here are five ways to help you plan Covid-safe events:

1. Design Arrival Spaces for Vaccine Checks and Covid Tests

Many governments are exploring the use of ‘vaccine passports’ or similar checks to enable people to go to events and festivals. A consequence of this is that vaccine checks or covid tests may have to take place on arrival. Event organisers should design their entrance areas to give enough space to view evidence of a vaccine check on mobile devices or recent test result, or space for covid tests to happen on-site. Consideration then needs to be given to what to do in the event of a positive test.

Test events currently happening in some countries are experimenting with how the design of entrance spaces could work. Our CEO Paul Foster spoke on BBC Radio recently about the ways large venues are approaching this, as part of the test events for the UK’s Events Research Program. He says the implementation of many smaller measures in event plans are what will make for a positive attendee experience.

The measures to ensure covid-safe standards are met in event entrance areas include inputting smart ticket check stations to reduce the amount of person-to-person contact, extra space for vaccination checks and covid testing. Larger arrival spaces can accommodate socially distanced queueing areas, and allow for an increased volume of staff and medical support at the event.

With attendee entrance able to be time stamped, the wait time of 30 minutes for a rapid test result can be factored into the event plan and inform the movement of people around the venue. Event creators should plan for multiple entrance points, and staggered ticket times will be valuable in maintaining crowd safety. 

See how OnePlan’s Infrastructure tools enable you to plot Covid test tents, vaccine passport check areas, as well as designing arrival queue lines and waiting areas for social distancing.

2. Re-consider crowd flow and timings to ensure a Covid-safe event

After arrival, crowd flow around a site becomes critical to ensuring a safe event. On OnePlan we’re seeing event organisers design the navigation of event attendees in specific ways using OnePlan’s array of Routes, Wayfinding and social distancing tools. In March 2021 alone we saw over 200,000 metres of walking routes plotted for events on OnePlan. 

One such customer is the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in the UK. The four-day outdoor event, known for its great line-up of folk and Americana music, caters for thousands of event goers, and features many elements that will be familiar to festival organisers. These include a campsite, extensive vehicle parking, on-site catering and more including free buses into the nearby town.

“OnePlan has helped us to identify a completely different way to use our site and the most efficient way to get full capacity whilst still social distancing.”

Amy Bertaut - Covid Lead and Children's Festival Director, Shrewsbury Folk Festival

The festival uses OnePlan to design the event to ensure an effective and safe crowd flow at all times around the festival. Amy Bertaut, Covid Lead and Children’s Festival Director at Shrewsbury Folk Festival, says the tool has opened a new way of designing the venue to be covid-safe. She says, “OnePlan has helped us identify a completely different way to use our site and the most efficient way to get full capacity whilst still social distancing.”

Festival organisers now need to consider the optimal capacity whilst adhering to safe social distancing guidelines. This includes calculating likely pinch points and busy areas, and how to manage the movement of attendees over multiple days and different parts of a large festival site. 

3. Ensure refreshment areas are designed for social distancing

When attendees gather for refreshments or at other amenities such as toilets, their movement in these areas should take account of best practice and minimise person to person contact. As people wait in line to be served, social distancing measures can be used to manage the number and flow of attendees. For some events, it’s possible that food and drink will only be served outdoors or when seated – which can also be designed ahead of time.   

OnePlan’s Social Distancing Toolkit enables event creators to carefully plan out these areas, and quickly identify risk areas around an event site. In food and concession areas, a one-way system can be implemented with clear signage positioned to make people aware of their navigation. These can be plotted simply, and refined based on the optimal numbers at any given time that can be controlled through our social distancing calculators.

With OnePlan, users can carefully plot hand sanitising points across the event site. Our selection of event infrastructure enables users to quickly incorporate cleanliness stations and mask collection areas to their plan, ensuring safety measures are upheld throughout the event.

Dot planning in these areas is paramount to ensure service staff are placed effectively – including for events requiring table service catering. OnePlan’s streamlined dot planning  ensures each staff member can be planned and located where needed. 

With supplier listing options, event planners can confirm standards and hygiene with concessions prior to the event, and ensure each food area has its own customer concession seating area and safe queue system. See our Suppliers page to learn more about this feature of OnePlan.

4. Share your plan to give confidence to partners and suppliers

Hosting a Covid-safe event requires significant forward planning, adaptation and stakeholder management. All stakeholders – be they your team, your partners, suppliers, local government, security services and more – will have a covid-safe mindset, with social distancing requirements front-of-mind. You can give your stakeholders confidence by sharing your plan in real-time. 

As a collaborative, real-time tool, OnePlan is built to support any event type. As people work from home and in multiple locations, it’s more important than ever to unite around one central plan – the single source of truth for your event. You can give anyone access to your event plan in OnePlan, and share it easily with anyone.

“We've been able to send our site plan to our sound engineer to assess the effect of moving our stages which is super helpful.”

Amy Bertaut - Covid Lead and Children's Festival Director, Shrewsbury Folk Festival

Event planners at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival have found significant value in this functionality. “We’ve been able to send our site plan to our sound engineer to assess the effect of moving our stages which is super helpful,” says Amy Bertaut. 

In this example, being able to share events featuring live music with sound engineers is invaluable. Careful planning of stage placement means that noise interference can be controlled across different areas of an event site throughout the festival, and reduces disruption for the public and surrounding area. It’s one of the factors that enables optimal capacity and the best possible attendee experience. 

OnePlan enables users to add sub users, and share their event plans with anyone; on their team, stakeholders or suppliers.

5. Designing a safe and smooth egress process

When it comes to choosing a venue, or planning in your space, questions such as “How much space do we have for our check-in line?” and “What are the entrance and exit points available for our space?” will certainly arise. Event safety starts and ends at the doors;  ensuring your event goers can enter and leave your event safely is crucial. Having multiple exit points and appropriately placed staff will be valuable in maintaining crowd safety.

The increasing placement of exit infrastructure and dot planning at exit points by our users demonstrates the centrality of this aspect of event planning going forward.

OnePlan Exit modelling calculator is designed to manage crowd flow for you, so your spectators are distanced from the start to finish of your event; providing smart and smooth planning for egress.

The calculator allows you to input the people, per minute that you expect to leave the event through a given exit.  By inputting the social distancing requirements for this area, the tool will provide instant calculation of an exit queue, maximum wait time and the space required to accommodate for those exiting the event. Working with any social distancing requirements necessary, the tool will automatically update to show you the exit flow rate for your total exits in 20, 15, 10 and 5 minute blocks.

The calculator allows you to input the people, per minute that you expect to leave the event through a given exit.  By inputting the social distancing requirements for this area, the tool will provide instant calculation of an exit queue, maximum wait time and the space required to accommodate for those exiting the event. Working with any social distancing requirements necessary, the tool will automatically update to show you the exit flow rate for your total exits in 20, 15, 10 and 5 minute blocks.

The future of safe events

OnePlan’s tools are designed to make event planning a joy, and to ensure safe and smooth events can be planned from anywhere in the world. Whether a local food festival or city-wide sporting event, our plethora of crowd management and entrance flow tools prepare events for the era of social distancing.

To plan your next safe and successful events on OnePlan, sign up now for your free 5 day trial.

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