“Curse you, Delta variant” said every conference organizer, at least once, over the past month. Just as we were moving back to a relative normalcy within the conference industry, the game changed again. Luckily, we know a lot more now than we did this time last year. As live conferences continue to plan around this wily virus, organizers are taking a number of extra precautions to ensure that attendees and speakers alike stay safe. Below I’ve compiled a few COVID-19 protocols that conference organizers are implementing to keep us all well.
Vaccination: Many conferences, including CES, Fortune Brainstorm: Tech and Bio-IT World, are requiring attendees to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Some are accepting cards at the door, while others are using vaccine verification apps to confirm vaccination status.
Testing: Some events are requiring rapid tests to be taken onsite.
Masks: Most events are now requiring masks for in-person attendance – particularly in auditorium or conference settings.
Low Touch or No Touch: While some events have a no handshake policy, others are allowing attendees to use their best judgement. To make this socially easier, many are using comfort level wristbands. Different colors allow event participants to indicate their preference on social distancing comfort level.
Reduced conference room capacity: 6 feet apart is still the rule in many conference settings. This also includes wider aisles through event spaces, including exhibit area.
Constant Cleaning: Most hotels and venues offer rigorous onsite cleaning and sanitizing of all touch points. They also offer several “sanitation stations”.
Contact Tracing: There’s an app for that Some conferences, including NAB in Vegas are using mobile apps like COVID Trace, which can notify attendees if they are likely to have been exposed to COVID-19.
We have seen many live events happen since June that have been successful summits – not super-spreaders. Careful planning and clear communications are both paramount in making this possible. And for a great read on how one conference did this very well, check out Quartz’ article on How to hold an in-person conference during a pandemic: Lessons from TED.