As we continue to monitor the situation, we encourage you to stay as up-to-date as possible as conditions are continuously changing. We know there is a lot of noise around the situation at the moment, so below is a selection of official and trustworthy resources to help you stay informed. We will be updating this page with additional resources as they become available.
Here are some resources that might be helpful to you at this time:
- CDC’s COVID-19 Homepage
- CDC: Get Your Mass Gatherings or Large Community Events Ready
- CDC’s Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings and Interim Guidance for Event Planners
- Latest updates from the WHO
- WHO’s COVID-19 advice for the public (including recommendations for travel and protective measures)
- PCMA’s guide to “What Business Events Professionals Need to Know About the COVID-19 Coronavirus”
- Events Industry Council COVID-19 Update and Resources
- WHO’s “Key Planning Recommendations for Mass Gatherings in the Context of the Current COVID-19 Outbreak”
- National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website that provides specific travel health advice for countries.
- The Council of Foreign Relations’ global tracker offers a comprehensive list of countries with travel restrictions.
“The impact of the coronavirus on the events industry is one that requires a collective effort from businesses and individuals alike in order to ensure the health and safety of the global community. We are offering our support as industry experts to be a resource for those who are looking for the safest way forward for their attendees, employees, partners and suppliers.
Certain is working closely with our customers to identify where the greatest concerns lie, and how we can help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their business while keeping the safety of the community at the forefront.”
– Peter Micciche, Certain CEO
How will COVID-19 impact business events?
The impact of the coronavirus on events varies based on a number of factors, including audience and geographic location. While some events have been canceled or postponed, others have continued or are scheduled to continue. At present more than 80 countries have imposed travel restrictions including flight and visa restrictions.
While the cancellation of in-person events represents a significant burden to businesses who have invested a significant portion of their marketing budgets to their events programs, hosts are finding ways to adapt by still offering a virtual experience for their attendees through livestream and webcasting technologies.
What short-term considerations should my business be taking for our events?
- Stay Up-to-Date with the latest updates from the World Health Organization
- Follow specific travel health advice for countries
- Stay in regular communication with attendees and sponsors as the situation is fluid
- Develop a set of health and safety guidelines to ensure you limit the risk of exposure to your attendees, your staff and your partners
What long-term considerations should my business be taking for our events?
Surprisingly, only 53% of event planners actually have an emergency plan in place. If you don’t already have one in place, establish a crisis plan for all future events so in the event that a crisis strikes you will be ready. PCMA and MPI offer excellent crisis management and communications courses that empowers event professionals to develop an effective crisis communication plan.
Now is the time to re-evaluate your strategy for event health and safety, both in terms of your attendees and the data collected from your events. Endless Events and MPI offer some excellent tips and insights into event safety, looking at both safety and security in the event industry and crisis communications for events.
What are some of the alternative options available in the event that my event is impacted by COVID-19?
In the event that you will have to cancel travel, meetings or events, consider that action as a postponement and find alternative channels to support your attendees. While webinars and digital summits lack the face-to-face and hands-on interaction provided by in-person events, they are a good stand-in for providing essential, time-sensitive information and updates to your attendees until your in-person event has been rescheduled.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses are being challenged to adapt their events to a rapidly changing landscape.
- Make any session or event a hybrid in-person and virtual event:
- Provide a URL for the webcast for each specific session
- Expand event mobile options to remote attendees to enable engagement:
- Give virtual attendees a way to answer live polls and respond to surveys
- View live or on-demand via webcast
- Provide a session hashtag that virtual and non-virtual attendees can use to stay connected via the event mobile app
- Explore providing options for virtual attendance through livestream and webcasting technologies
“Many many cancellations are happening. I understand how that is the only option for a trade show with 100,000 attendees, but conferences with 4,000/5,000 attendees do not need to cancel. They can still happen with live streaming and mobile apps as networking tools.” – Julius Solaris, Editor in Chief, Event Manager Blog
What can I be doing to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19?
The WHO has instructed people to take the following protective measures against the spread of the virus:
- Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
- Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Impact of Coronavirus on Events:
Supporting the Best Way Forward for Your Attendees and Your Business
This eBook contains tips and major considerations for businesses and event professionals as they navigate the impact of the COVID-19 on their events programs.
Track COVID-19 in real time
Reference: Dong E, Du H, Gardner L. An interactive web-based dashboard to track COVID-19 in real time. Lancet Infect Dis; published online Feb 19. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30120-1.