Hosting in-person events after COVID-19
Some states and municipalities have lifted their coronavirus (COVID-19) mask mandates, and your organization is probably thinking about hosting events again (if it hasn’t already started). It’s a tricky time, because while more than 70% of adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, there are still plenty of people who are unvaccinated. Additionally, vaccinations have not yet been approved for children under 12. Meanwhile, the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus has become a new consideration, and is causing many organizations to second-guess their reopening plans.
So, what precautions should you take as you prepare for holiday gatherings this fall and winter? Church Mutual works with thousands of organizations that are grappling with this same question, and we have compiled a few rules of thumb you should keep in mind:
- Continue to offer masks and hand sanitizer, and thoroughly disinfect all surfaces on a regular basis. Many organizations have relaxed their masking policy, either eliminating masking requirements altogether or stipulating that those who are fully vaccinated can choose if they want to wear a mask. Nevertheless, having a supply of masks available to attendees gives them the choice of continuing that precaution. Additionally, it is a good practice to offer hand sanitizer and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least once per day. Be aware of any restrictions pertaining to masks or gatherings that may be in place in your local jurisdiction.
- Communicate with attendees as to the size of the event and what will be occurring. Now that vaccinations are available to people 12 and older, most Americans have the ability to make their own decisions about whether an in-person event is safe for them. However, they should have all the necessary information before making those decisions. Will food be served? Will attendees have extended physical contact with each other? Will the even be held indoors or out? Answer all these questions before the event and communicate those answers clearly with people in your organization.
- Consider offering a virtual option for events. While live-streaming isn’t always possible or feasible, some people have grown accustomed to participating in events virtually. The holidays are an especially important time for offering virtual options, because some people want to participate without potentially exposing themselves to disease. Additionally, a number of the people you serve may be immunocompromised, so even if they are vaccinated, they could be at risk for contracting COVID-19 and experiencing debilitating effects. The Delta variant has changed the rules for many Americans, and some people are concerned their vaccination will not fully protect them if they attend in-person events.
You will never be able to please everyone, and no matter what precautions you do or do not take, some of your people will feel you are making the wrong decision. Establish a solid plan of action, and then stick with it.
For more COVID-19-related information and resources, visit coronavirus.churchmutual.com.