There’s no doubt that our industry’s landscape will look drastically different as the result of COVID-19--that’s why it’s important for planners to design spaces with safety and social distancing top of mind. Using technology, modularity and creativity, planners can develop thoughtful and trendy designs that are safe and comfortable for attendees. As we look toward a brighter future, CORT Events is sharing guidelines and trends to follow for events and meetings in a post-COVID world.
Facilitate Movement through Design
Promoting socialization through social distancing will be an obstacle for planners, though not impossible. When designing a safely spaced social event, use a 6- by-6-foot grid to make sure attendees have room to circulate with a 36-inch “halo” around them. For reassurance, be sure to provide at least 500 square feet for every 10 attendees. Consider using both physical and mental cues for attendees to utilize designated seating. By adding barriers, like C-shaped tables between seats, guests will know where to sit, allowing for a greater sense of safety. To reinforce wellbeing, include plenty of displays reminding attendees to sanitize their hands and practice social distancing.
Technology is already one of the most valuable tools for a planner. In this new era, we expect future events and meetings to be smaller, meaning fewer in-person attendees (100 or less) and more virtual attendees. Since speakers will be sitting farther apart, consider designing with drapes and greenery so stages have a greater sense of warmth and comfort. Integrate live chats and polls to ensure speakers are engaging with remote attendees. For larger meetings, use comfortable chairs with individual power incorporated so attendees can remain in one seat for the entire event. Pro tip: Remember to lower music so attendees can hear each other at a distance.
Reimagine Conventional Dining
As we prepare for post COVID-19 events, out-of-the-box ideas will need to be implemented--especially when it comes to dining. To maintain a 6-foot distance between attendees, consider using communal tables for two, placing two seats at each end of the table. Accessorize with draped floral arrangements or intimate candle centerpieces to divide the space.
For food and drink stations, planners should utilize multiple individual stations to limit interactions and lengthy lines. Provide social distancing markers on the floor to indicate one-way traffic through the station. Buffets are no longer an option--instead, opt for plated or boxed meals.
Don’t forget to include plenty of sanitation stations. Guests will have peace of mind and appreciate the chance to connect with others while dining.
CORT Events is here to support you as we make your safety and health our top priority. To learn more about CORT’s event rental collections, visit www.CORTevents.com.
Kevin Dana is executive director of marketing and product development at CORT Events. For more information on rental products, reach out to your CORT Events representative or visit www.cortevents.com.