I’m here at The Special Event + Catersource show in Las Vegas this week hosting the class “Don’t Get Wasted: Managing Food Waste in Events. Seems like we’ll have a lot less waste in the coming weeks. The live events industry is taking a serious hit with the COVID-19 global pandemic. Events are being canceled across the board. Event planners, venues, caterers and all their staff are suddenly in a situation of uncertainty of their business.
The industry as a whole seems to be looking at this a temporary set-back but ready to move forward in a safe and responsible way. Here are some of the takeaways:
- Take “reasonable measures” to get ahead of the situation. You may want to consult an attorney to define what “reasonable” is!
- Communicate precautions to all staff. Identify the actions you are taking and what their role is in executing these precautions.
- Publish a list and issues a statement to your clients of these precautions to mitigate any possible spread of illness. I’ve already seen several e-mails from vendors announcing their policies. Get that list from all your vendors. List at least the minimum actions such as:
- All staff will wash hands every 15 minutes;
- There will be more spacing of hors d’oeuvres on trays;
- No staff will work if they feel under the weather.
- “Duty of care”–As a planner or venue, it is your responsibility to ensure all activity behind scenes and interactions between staff and attendees is monitored so you are not spreading any illness to attendees. Check where staff have travelled.
- Attendees responsibility— If attendee is sick, they should not attend. It is their responsibility to not put anyone else at risk.
- Handshakes are out.
- Check your city where you may be having an event. Some cities are putting restrictions on activities, public gatherings and events.
- If your event is out of town, be mindful some of your staff may not want to travel.
- Sanitation supplies may be hard to get. You can make your own with Aloe Vera get and rubbing alcohol. Add some essential oils.
- Have hand sanitizing stations at all entry/exits to all meeting room doors, and beginning and end of all buffets or coffee stations.
- Honestly, I would rethink your buffet and not have them. You should not touch metal surfaces that others touch-such as coffee urns, serving pieces. Have gloved wait staff to pour and serve. If you don’t have wait staff use a glove or napkin to pour the cream.
- Avoid packing people into tight spaces. Allow for Personal space. Timing and space issues make all this tricky.
Many colleagues, including me, have lost clients and business this week. We’re all in this and hope for the best.