COVID-19 Events checklist

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Kirklees Council recognises the difficulties that those connected to the sector are currently facing as part of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional precautions will be needed for any events, so it is important to ensure detailed procedures and best practice are applied as part of the planning of any events bringing people together.

This list of questions and considerations will help you plan for any future events, depending on the easing of restrictions. It is a non-exhaustive list of questions and considerations to help event organisers in their planning of events in the context of COVID-19. This checklist has been brought together with insight from colleagues across the event industry, local authorities and the London Events Forum. The responsibility and liability for all events legally lies and remains with the event organiser.

In planning an event, an Event Management Plan must be produced with a robust Risk Assessment, with specific considerations around COVID-19 risks and how these will be mitigated. As the situation and restrictions relating to COVID-19 are fluid, it is important to review and follow the latest guidance from Government, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and any industry or sector specific guidance throughout the event planning process. You will also need to take into account the advice of Safety Advisory Group that exists in Kirklees Council, along with normal licensing or any other requirements to host an event.

What to think about

  • Your event may have happened before, but what needs to change now?
  • What is the purpose of your event? Can it achieve this if certain restrictions are in place?
  • Who is the event for and is there a current demand for it?
  • Where can you remove or reduce the risk of close physical contact between attendees, participants or staff?
  • Does the event need a live audience? Could it happen behind closed doors (the performance or activity happens live which is then broadcast)?
  • Could the event be live in small, localised formats linked into a larger whole digitally?
  • What and where is the venue - indoor/outdoor; how will people travel; what is the capacity with social distancing measures in place?
  • What is your audience profile and how does it impact your planning?
  • Do you have appropriate and legally competent workers and Health and Safety Officers, who can ensure the current guidance is being applied in the event planning?
  • How flexible is the event plan to adapt to changing COVID-19 guidance - either in the lead up to, during, or de-rigging of the event?

Key planning considerations

Risk assessment and method statement
  • Have you conducted a robust risk assessment which encompasses all COVID-19 related risks?
  • Does this take staff, participants and visitors into account?
Safe event planning
  • Is there sufficient time to plan the event (for all stakeholders)?
  • Do/will the emergency services (Police, Ambulance and Fire Brigade) have capacity to commit to overseeing the safe planning and support delivery of your event?
  • Do you have sufficient skilled and legally competent staff in place to plan the event safely - including contractors and suppliers?
  • Have you considered the scenarios that would necessitate cancellation, and the timeframe for decision-making for this?
  • What additional hygiene measures must be put in place across the whole site and what procedures do you have for maintaining them throughout the event?
  • Have you factored in a deep clean overnight for events of more than one day?
  • Are there sufficient supplies of PPE/medical equipment available?
  • What plans do you have for isolating suspected COVID-19 patients on site and have you considered your duty of care to them and others thereafter?
Crowd management plan
  • What is the latest social distancing advice - protocols and practices?
  • How does this impact on your Crowd Management Plan (and the staff to maintain it)?
  • Have social distancing measures been applied both inside and outside your event, including measures in place to protect staff?
  • Are there separate entrances and exits?
  • How are you planning to marshal all queues (entry and on site)?
  • How will social distancing measures work where close contact is needed, for example first aid or ejections from site?
  • Have the provision and management of facilities (e.g. toilets, cloakrooms, green rooms, changing areas etc.) had COVID-19 risks considered (hygiene, social distancing etc.)?
  • Do you need more staff to implement this? What measures are in place to protect them?
Food and beverages
  • Have all COVID-19 risk mitigations and new protocols for the handling and serving of food and beverages been incorporated into your event planning?
  • Have you considered varying the food offer to minimise queueing, such as meal deals, hampers, one-stop shop provision?
  • How will people buy the food, such as queueing at food stalls/safe waiter service etc.?
Artistic collaborators
  • Will artists want to perform under current conditions?
  • Would they have to travel and if so, have these challenges been considered?
  • What happens if your participants, artists, athletes come from international areas where COVID-19 restrictions change at short notice or a travel ban is re-imposed nationally or internationally?
  • Have you considered any visa implications, obligatory testing, or quarantine requirements?
Community participation
  • With all the disruption that the pandemic has caused, are community groups, schools and/or sports teams able to get involved in the event?
  • Have staff, volunteers and participants at your event been trained in their role in minimising the spread of COVID-19?
Getting to the event
  • Will visitors need to use public transport to get to the event or can they cycle, walk or drive?
  • Capacity on public transport may be reduced. People's willingness to use public transport may also be impacted. Have these considerations been factored into your planning?
  • If people choose to drive - what impact will this have on congestion on local roads and parking facilities?
  • What is the public demand for the event? Has this been assessed in the context of COVID-19 risks and mitigations being adopted?
  • What is the public sentiment - both audience and those living or working around your event? What reputational impact could this have?
  • What will the audience experience be, and how will this be impacted with mitigations such as social distancing, face masks, restricted access to facilities?
  • What considerations do you need to make for vulnerable groups?
  • Can you collate and safely maintain contact details of staff and visitors, if needed by any Track & Trace requirements?
  • Staff, participants and visitors may require overnight accommodation to take part in your event. Have any current restrictions been factored in?
  • Have you considered the messaging around your event and how they can be communicated at short notice? How will you do this for a non-ticketed/public free flow event where direct contact is not possible?

Consider the following:

  • General information
  • COVID-19 specific messaging (ensuring any links you give to public information are up to date)
  • Cancellation timelines
  • Refund status and process (if applicable)
  • Do you have sufficient financial stability and cash flow to manage 'sunk costs' if the event is cancelled at short notice?
  • What are your contractual obligations with suppliers/venue/other and their payment? How does this impact your timeframe for decision-making and safe planning?
  • Will a reduced audience capacity, with increased operational costs, make your event financially viable?
  • Has all funding been confirmed - are all sponsors, partners and concessions still contributing?
  • Have you reviewed cancellation, and other, insurance as to how COVID-19 impacts this?
  • Do you understand your legal responsibility, and liabilities, in organising an event?
  • A robust Risk Assessment is a legal requirement.
  • Have you considered and mitigated against all risks related to the event, including COVID-19?
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