Meeting Mentor Magazine

May 2024

How to Create Safer Spaces for COVID-19-era Events

As cities, regions and states begin to reopen their economies and start allowing at least some forms of limited meetings and events again, meeting organizers and their hospitality and service partners are scrambling to figure out how to restart their events as safely as possible. To help, Audiovisual firm PSAV recently released its MeetSafe Guidance on what the new normal may be for meeting formats, technology and equipment, and cleanliness to keep attendees safe and comfortable with returning to events in this early phase of recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 21-page guide provides design options for everything from a meeting that will use just one room to more complex multiroom/multivenue events that include networked communications. It also walks through some examples of how room layouts and traffic flow could be reworked to accommodate the new need for spacial distancing. This section  includes side-by-side comparisons of how traditional room sets could be reworked to meet today’s greater distancing needs, from taking a traditional 24-person U-shaped room set to a 10-person version, to reconfiguring a 72-person classroom set to a version that is modified to accommodate 24 people in a way that conforms to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to maintain a six-foot separation.

Technology and equipment needs also will be a little different from the old normal. For example, with physical distancing requirements necessitating putting fewer attendees into larger spaces, planners should consider larger screens, brighter projectors, and audio reinforcement including delay monitors for those seated in the back of the room.

In addition to the usual advice on regularly cleaning often-touched items such as light switches and doorknobs, the guide also includes recommendations for speaker-related hygiene, such as cleaning mics and presentation advancers between speakers and using a highboy instead of a traditional lectern to discourage leaning. But it doesn’t stop there: The guide includes recommendations for keeping all AV equipment sanitized, including everything from laptops and headphones to power strips and faders/dimmers.

Many meeting organizers are anticipating that their events will need to be hybrid, at least in the near term, to accommodate those who can’t come or do not feel comfortable attending in person. For larger in-person events, planners also will have to think about the tech they’ll need to broadcast presentations to the ancillary rooms needed to keep attendees spatially distant. This will mean rethinking stage lighting to be more camera-friendly, cameras and webcasting hardware, and dedicated wired internet, among other considerations.

The full MeetSafe Guidelines document is available for download at the PSAV website (free registration required).







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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates.

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually.

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