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The Cost of Implementing Coronavirus Measures at Live Events.

Andy Robertson

When live events resume in the UK sometime in 2021 event organisers are going to be faced with a whole host of new restrictions and measures that will most likely be mandatory. Estimates suggest these new measures could account for up to 20% of event running costs, what are the likely measures that have a cost, hidden or otherwise.     

There are some obvious costs in terms of material purchase (e.g. prevention materials like masks, disinfectant gel and disposable tissues). But there are many hidden costs to consider too. Additional planning and risk analysis will be required to help understand potential costs, an exercise that in itself requires additional hours spent by the organising team staff.

Issue of processes and procedures regarding prevention measures for all contractors entering the site will be required. This may request that contractors reduce the time required to build and dismantle anything onsite. This will require changes to delivery schedules and the issue and acceptance of infection related processes.

Medical Facilities and Processes. 
Investment will be required in equipment, staff and training to enable health screening at visitor access points consisting of different steps for example:  

  • Asking advance questions in the registration process about their health status.
  • Asking a ‘status check’ question at their access point about their health.
  • Performing a thermal camera temperature check at their access point.
  • On-the-spot fast tests for the actual COVID-19 virus. 

Social Distancing and Crowd Control. 
Depending on the number of visitors that will be permitted at an event some planning and implementation will be required to ensure sufficient social distancing. This may entail the purchase of physical barriers and floor markings specifically for potential queues at the venue entrance, bathroom facilities or food and drink vendors for example. The addition of physical screens at the event entrance and information booths to protect staff. Monitoring crowd flow and management, this could be on an ad-hoc basis or could be more scientific, either way there is a cost associated with monitoring technology and staffing.  

Access, Registration and Contact Tracing. 
Adaptation of ticket purchase and pre-registration processes using available technology to enable contactless ticket scanning and cashless payments along with check in check out mobile apps. These technology solutions are already widely used for events so there should be little increased costs.

Food and beverage vendors will be required to follow strict health and safety procedures, a cost likely borne by the vendor, these processes are only an advancement of the measures most F&B vendors must already adhere to.

Staff and Volunteer Training.
Event organisers will have to invest time and management of staff and volunteer training regarding any new rules. This is a relatively hidden cost of the additional staff hours that will be required.

Cleaning and Sanitisation.
This will be a direct cost for event organisers, particularly for music festivals where regular cleaning and sensitisation will be required to much higher standard. The purchase of cleaning chemicals, materials and protective clothing will be required along with additional staff. If this outsourced expect quotes to be significantly higher than in previous years. Consider investing in time saving no -touch automation hygiene technology particularly for toilets and bathrooms for example:

  • Door opening/closing (both door to toilet area and to single toilet).
  • Toilet paper dispenser.
  • Toilet tissue (for hand drying) dispenser.
  • Toilet flusher.
  • Toilet seat cleaner.
  • Sink soap dispenser.
  • Remote occupancy indication near the toilet waiting area to inform users on toilet availability. 

This is a developing area of consideration for event organisers planning their events for 2021 but with careful planning it should be easier now to understanding the cost implications of coronavirus infection prevention measures both in physical purchases and in additional staff time investment.

For any live events organisers planning their 2021 events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need to plan every aspect of their event. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing.  

Image by Ethan Wilkinson via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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