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COVID-19 vs. Live Events Professionals--Winner Takes All?

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

by Kirk D Rhodes, CPP


In the meeting and live events world we have officially entered a new normal.

The live events industry (think: concerts, football games, meetings, conferences, etc) have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. While so many things are uncertain, we can say for sure that Coronavirus is going to be the topic of conversation for the foreseeable future. Event planners and organizers have already felt the pain of postponements and cancellations. Now, the pressure is mounting to update event plans for successful delivery in this uncertain and challenging time. For those of us who are passionate about this industry, it is essential to face the multiple impacts head-on to review and update our plans accordingly. Hosting and delivering a safer event in this challenging environment is not only possible--it’s mandatory. So let’s stop wringing our hands, and instead be on the leading edge of developing our “New Normal.”

Just what is required to deliver a successful event in the COVID-19 era?

A new Playbook.


Time for live event industry professionals to get the creative juices flowing again. We must show the people who rely on us for event delivery that they can count on us to adapt, be flexible, and overcome some very significant challenges. Our time to shine is now!

Where do we start?

A comprehensive review and updating of existing plans is paramount. We’ve learned that new terms like “Social Distancing”, “Effective Hygiene”, “Limited Interactions”, and an expanded definition of “Personal Protective Equipment” are now part of our lexicon. Face masks, hand sanitizer, and shields will need to be considered during event planning for the foreseeable future.

Some of this may be difficult for us to understand. How can we host an event that provides the attendee with the proper experience that they have come to expect? How do we do these things effectively, while maintaining costs? If we build it, will they come?

We can do all these things, and more, as we begin to reinvent our Playbook.

At SideCar Event Services, we have already begun to re-imagine the Playbook. We are monitoring World Health Organization (WHO) advice and incorporating recommendations into our planning criteria where possible. We are keeping a watchful eye on up-and-coming industry trends, and ensuring that we are educated on new strategies and guidelines. By identifying new technologies and creative ways to use existing resources, we at SideCar are set up to stage the safest events possible with the least impact to attendee experience.

Initial Post-Coronavirus Live Event Recommendations

Where to start? If you haven’t already, check out our SIDECAR HOMEPAGE and contact us about your upcoming event. We love to chat with clients! We promise the conversation is well within your budget.

Here is a short list of the 17 most significant event planning areas that need to be reviewed and updated first in this new normal of the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to update our strategies to ensure that we offer our clients effective and timely advice as this new Playbook evolves.

  1. Attendee Ingress and Egress Plans

  2. Attendee and Employee Health Screening

  3. Security Screening Requirements

  4. Crowd Management Plans

  5. Crowd Flow Design

  6. Capacity Plans and Management

  7. Seating Plans

  8. Registration and Credentialing Plans

  9. Operational Hours Plans

  10. Food and Beverage Plans

  11. Point of Sale Planning

  12. Exhibition and Convention Plans

  13. On-Site Medical Facilities

  14. Attendee Mass Notification Plans

  15. Transportation and Logistics Plans

  16. Distance and Remote Interaction Opportunities

  17. Branding and Marketing Opportunities

While this is not a comprehensive list, we know that you can’t cross the finish line without taking the first few steps. We are all in this together.

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