33 Questions to Ask When Planning for the Return of In-Person Events

While safety and risk have always been a part of our events, COVID-19 has tested all past assumptions. As some organizations consider planning and holding in-person events and gatherings, and other communities are in the early stages of moving ahead, there are many new questions to consider.

Read on for 33 questions to evaluate when planning for the return of in-person events, curated from planners who recently completed our Pandemic Meeting & Event Design certificate course.

But keep in mind this list is just a starting point as information is changing daily, if not hourly.

To gain detailed insights and a clear thought process to determine the questions to ask and answer for your unique circumstances, organization, attendees, local environment, and current guidelines/regulations, sign up for the next Pandemic Meeting & Event Design professional development course. Developed in partnership with MPI, the course provides new ways to prepare event strategy, design, execution, and evaluation.

1. What is the event need/goal, and must the outcomes be achieved by meeting in-person?

2. How should success metrics shift to reflect the new climate

3. What are the go-to sources of reliable information and guidelines to use when making plans and decisions around in-person events.

4. How will the extended production team be involved in the upfront planning process and be kept up-to-date with changes that come along the way?

5. What are effective strategies for communicating expectations and policies to all those involved in the event – including attendees, the venue, and all supporting vendors and suppliers?

6. Should we have attendees sign a code of conduct/agreement? And if so, what components should the contract include?

7. What is the policy for attendee cancellations if they no longer feel comfortable attending in-person?

8. What is our approach towards risk transfer?

9. What kinds of waivers or indemnification clauses should be in place – for attendees, speakers, suppliers, and contractors?

10. What should we include in our agreements about the venue’s responsibility to create a safe environment? For example, what is our responsibility/liability to the venue if attendees don’t abide to social distancing or mask requirements?

11. What kinds of insurance may provide coverage for losses and claims related to Coronavirus?

12. Are there other types of insurance to consider or provide for guests or suppliers?

13. When is a pandemic/epidemic legally considered force majeure, and who defines whether or not it is?

14. When can we invoke force majeure?

15. What entity determines when a pandemic/epidemic is officially over?

16. How and under what conditions do venues/suppliers refund deposits?

17. Who is responsible for providing safety items (sanitizer stations, temperature checks, screening area, etc.) – the organizer or the venue?

18. What and how much PPE items do attendees and staff need, and how are these costs covered?

19. How will plans be modified if an infection rate is low at contract signing/booking and increases leading up to the event date?

20. What can be done to keep groups from congregating together – such as during registration, meal breaks, or waiting for transportation?

21. What measures are put in place to manage and direct crowd flow and control?

22. How can we minimize touchpoints throughout the event and/or use more contactless experiences?

23. What changes should be made to food & beverage service?

24. What are the recommended best practices for room design and staging?

25. What kinds of ventilation and filtration systems are in place at the venue?

26. What and where should signage or directional instructions be placed throughout the venue?

27. What kinds of cleaning practices or protocols should AV and catering vendors, the venue, and housing partner have in places?

28. Are there standard certifications or accreditations important for partners/suppliers to hold or be a member of?

29. What cleaning and sanitization protocols and frequencies do my suppliers and vendors use?

30. How can we minimize the sharing of high-touch equipment – like microphones?

31. What is our policy for enforcing health-screenings/questionnaire completion? Is it self-certified or performed by a member of our team?

32. Regarding established policies and procedures, if non-compliance issues arise from attendees, staff, or vendors, what are our de-escalation guidelines?

33. What protocols are in place for isolating attendees or staff who may develop COVID-19 symptoms or come in contact with someone now reporting symptoms?

What other questions have you faced as you plan for the return of in-person events? Share below.