It's still recommended that vaccinated travelers wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose, maintain six feet of distancing, avoid crowds, self-monitor for symptoms, and wash their hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. People are considered fully vaccinated at least two weeks after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The latest guidance, which says fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread Covid-19, could help accelerate the meetings industry's recovery.
Guidelines for Events
Meeting organizers preparing for shows scheduled in 2021 and beyond must consider the health and safety of attendees and staff at every step of the planning process. Guidance is provided for resuming events, with details on how to evaluate the risk levels and key actions that can help prevent the spread of the virus. Cleanliness protocols are also covered.
Event organizers are encouraged to follow state and local regulations on gatherings. Meeting planners should continually monitor the outbreak and make adjustments to the event plan as needed.
"Event planners should work with state and local health officials to implement this guidance, adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community," reads the document. However "this guidance is meant to supplement — not replace — any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply."
The following is extrapolated from the recommendations.
Risk Factors to Consider
- The number of Covid-19 cases within the community: High or increasing levels of local infection could increase the risk of spread among attendees.
- Potential for exposure during travel: Airports, airplanes, bus stations, buses, train stations, trains, and public transport are all places where physical distancing might be challenging and ventilation could be poor.
- Length of the event: Longer meetings pose a greater risk. Being within six feet of someone who has Covid-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more (over a 24-hour period) greatly increases the risk of becoming infected.
- The setting: Indoor events, especially in places with poor ventilation, pose more risk than outdoor events.
- The number of people attending: The more people there are at an event, the greater the likelihood of exposure. Planners must also consider crowding, and should implement modified room layouts or block off seats to ensure social distancing.
- Behavior or attendees: Events, where people do not maintain physical distancing and/or do not wear a mask correctly, can increase the risk of contagion.
For meetings that are scheduled to go on, the following recommendations apply:
Considerations for Cancelling or Postponing
- How many people are expected to attend? The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer those interactions are, the higher the risk of transmission.
- How many of the attendees are more vulnerable to Covid-19? Older adults and people with pre-existing conditions are considered to be at higher risk.
- How close will the attendees be? Person-to-person spread is most likely to occur within close contact of six feet or less.
- Are there any ways to reduce the number of attendees? Setting up socially distanced seating can help reduce the risk of transmission.
- What is the level of transmission within the local communities? Some areas have been harder hit than others. They recommend consulting with the local or state public health department.
We will share more on how to go about before, during, and after the event.
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