Staying Up-to-Date on Event Regulations During the Pandemic

Last updated September 14, 2020

We are living in unprecedented times.  Thinking about the future is extremely challenging!  Short-term, our regulations seem to be changing every two weeks.  Long-term, it’s impossible to imagine how the next year will unfold, given the necessary short-term adjustments and sacrifices we are all making to keep our communities as safe and healthy as is possible during this pandemic.  This has especially been tough on the events industry, as planning processes get tossed in the blender with all of the other unknowns.

There are no concrete answers about when limitations might be lifted, when another wave of the virus might influence additional restrictions, or how long it might be before a vaccine is readily available and our society becomes comfortable interacting like we did before COVID-19 hit us this year.  Groups all over the world have had to pivot to virtual events, meeting on video conference platforms and finding creative ways to engage while we can’t meet in person. 

For anyone trying to keep communities involved and move forward with events planned in 2020, here are some resources that might help guide your decisions about structuring events through the end of the year.

Stay up-to-date on event regulations during the pandemic.

Basic Guidance Provided from National Organizations

First and foremost, it is imperative to abide by government regulations and restrictions to ensure that we are keeping our communities safe and as healthy as possible.  For most of us, local ordinances are the most stringent, but overall guidance from the CDC, WHO and national leaders are below:

CDC Considerations for Events & Gatherings:  This site has extensive resources that offer support for anyone considering how to safely bring a group of people from different households together.  Below is a summary of key takeaways, but we recommend that you take in the full website.

  • Stay home and engage virtually whenever possible, wear face coverings when out in public, and practice effective hygiene. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily, or as frequently as possible.
  • Limit seating and capacity to allow for proper social distancing.
  • If you must provide food, serve individually plated meals or grab-and-go options, and use disposable dishes and utensils.  Avoid all self-serve food or beverage options.

Download the CDC’s Events and Gatherings Readiness & Planning Tool.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Understanding the Coronavirus Webinar (You will be asked for contact info to access this recording.)

CDC’s Definition of Proper Social Distancing:  Keep a Safe Distance to Slow the Spread

Current information from the World Health Organization about the Coronavirus Outbreaks.

State Regulations

Here are some resources to follow if you’re planning events in Colorado.

State Guidance for Indoor Events. These are some highlights, but please visit the website for the full info!

  • Under the current “Safer at Home” orders, we are required to maintain a minimum of 6 feet between people at all time. For event space, this means ensuring that individuals can move around the space with a 6ft area surrounding them. So to properly accommodate this, you should plan for 144 square feet per person!
  • Collect contact information for all guests, so in case you learn that someone at your event exhibits symptoms, you can contact everyone who attended with more information about getting tested and self-quarantining.
  • The more signage you have reminding people to respect social distancing the better.
  • No self-service food or drinks!
  • No games or activities that involve contact between people, congregating together, or sharing materials.
  • Add an additional 6 feet in between vendor booths, and require vendors to have booth layouts that promote social distancing. This will likely entail providing larger booth areas.
  • Direct traffic flows in one-way patterns, controlled by ropes or fencing.
  • And performers providing entertainment must be at least 25 feet away from all audience members. (Research suggests that projecting and singing spreads respiratory droplets over greater distances, which increases the risk of virus transmission.

Visit the Colorado Resource Page for COVID-19, a hub of information that includes public health info, state guidelines, and any new information that has come out through medical research.

Track data about the virus in the sate, maintained by the Colorado Department of Public Health.

Visit Colorado Public Radio’s collection of stories and updates related to the Coronavirus.

This Social Distancing Space Calculator is super useful for determining how your group can be accommodated for both indoor and outdoor events!

Masks are now mandatory in all public indoor spaces! A statewide mask order went into effect at midnight on July 16th, and will be in effect at least through October 12th.

Statewide mask order is in effect in Colorado!

Local Regulations

Have questions about your specific circumstances? Our team is always willing to brainstorm solutions and share whatever resources we can. Contact to let us know how we can help! In the meantime, stay as healthy and as sane as is possible during these turbulent times.

Gamify Your Next Event

Gamification is the concept of applying the mechanics of a game or designing a contest to motivate an individual or a group to achieve a specific goal. This approach is so successful because it resonates with our innate human impulse to seek status and recognition.

In the context of a corporate event, contests have been hosted in conjunction with exhibit halls and trade shows for decades. A common application of this has been to provide attendees with something akin to a passport or a bingo card that each exhibitor can check off, which encourages attendees to visit as many booths as possible. When they have visited all of the booths, they may then enter their proof into a drawing for prizes, generally donated by exhibitors.

In some circumstances, this is a productive way to engage attendees with exhibitors and sponsors. However, when the end goal of the attendees is simply to get their stamp or signature so they can enter the drawing, it lessens the effect of each interaction.

How can we encourage interactions that have a positive impact on the attendees’ experience, as well as allow the exhibitors and sponsors to maximize their marketing efforts? Plan Ahead Events has launched a proprietary platform called the Biddit Game that has successfully engaged people on all sides of the expo aisle. Attendees can earn Biddit Bucks and use mobile bidding technology to bid on prizes at the end of the event. Watch this video to see how it enhanced the experience for both exhibitors and attendees at an international conference and trade show. Vendors appreciated the increase in traffic at their booths, and attendees enjoyed the easy competitive nature of the game.

Contact for more information about how we can help you gamify your next event.  The platform is accessible, and easy to customize to suit your audience!

Refresh Your Conference Events

Refresh Your Conference Events

Incorporate these elements into your meetings and conference events to keep your audiences engaged and active.  These four components have been proven to increase productivity and generate more effective results!

1.)  Get Some Fresh Air:  After hours of bathing in fluorescent light in a conference room somewhere in the depths of a convention hall, the best way to re-energize your attendees can be to step outside and enjoy some sunlight.  Plan a session that offers education or networking outside on a patio, or host a break in a courtyard.  During colder months, utilize interior spaces with windows that let in natural light.

2.)  Problem Solving:  Stimulate creative thinking by leading classic ice breakers to kickoff a session, or by providing games or problem-solving scenarios that teams have to work through.  This enhances cooperation and engages a different part of the brain, which makes for more productive conversations throughout the day.  It also offers a more intimate connection for attendees to introduce themselves and network authentically.

3.)  Kinetic Movement:  Improve brain function by increasing blood flow with 20 minutes of aerobic activity.  Boost your participants’ cognitive abilities with a guided morning hike, an afternoon yoga session, or a competitive photo scavenger hunt.

4.)  Experiential Learning:  Studies have shown that we learn more effectively when we physically do something, as opposed to hearing about it or just watching.  Incorporate activities into educational components that help your attendees make an emotional connection with a leader, a product, a brand or a goal.  Contests and interactive campaigns are a great way to engage an audience, and they can also activate sponsorships from your partner vendors(an easy way to showcase their products and services!).

Integrate activities of all types into your event programming to motivate conference attendees and encourage more active participation.  Leverage the time you have together to inspire the most innovative and effective solutions your teams can come up with, and make the event memorable for them at the same time.