While the Coronavirus outbreak continues to have a significant impact across all sectors of business, few have been more greatly affected than the live events industry. As we work with our clients to navigate strategies and solutions during this complicated time, we wanted to share some practical tips to consider for your own events.
If you’re considering cancelling or rescheduling your event:
- In the U.S. most are in agreement that current COVID-19 conditions do not constitute a force majeure event, but every case is different. The specifics surrounding your event and the business impact will differ, as will specific venue and vendor contract language. Also consider that each state’s interpretation of the law will vary as well (New York, for example, typically has a more narrow interpretation of force majeure than other states). Most importantly, the situation remains fluid.
- Before speculating too much about the viability of force majeure, reach out to your venue and vendors to discuss it. We’ve already seen a great deal of flexibility within the industry, and good partners should always be willing to demonstrate some level of compromise — particularly for rescheduling.
- If you are leaning towards cancelling, consider how the timing and financial exposure intersect. For instance if you’ve already paid a venue for 50% of the total cost and the remaining 50% isn’t owed for another 30 days, there’s likely no need to cancel your event (or at least your venue contract) today. Over the next 30 days it’s possible that conditions improve, or they decline to the point where force majeure may be in play. Know your payment schedule and don’t make decisions earlier than you have to.
- Not only are we seeing Q3 and Q4 events moving forward as planned, but many Q2 events are being rescheduled to that time too. So a busy event season will only get busier, with venue availability becoming more scarce. If you’re considering hosting or rescheduling an event later this year, the time to lock in a date and venue is probably now.
If your event is still on, how you can minimize risk:
- Communicate with your guests in advance about minimizing on-site contact. This includes handshakes, distancing, etc. We thought this sign was a fun and practical way to communicate expectations. You may even want to communicate this suggestion in advance to give guests piece of mind when deciding if they should attend.
- Ensure your venue and caterer are taking appropriate steps in prioritizing sanitization. As examples:
- The Ziegfeld Ballroom is posting signs encouraging proper hand washing for staff and guests. They have changed the way they’re passing hors d’oeuvres so guests’ hands are not coming into contact with food trays. Plates and utensils are only being handled by staff wearing gloves, and staff are consistently sanitizing every door handle.
- Pier Sixty, The Lighthouse and Current have designated a special cleaning task force focused on the constant cleaning of high-volume, high-touch surfaces within their venues. All buffets are being served by staff to ensure that utensils are not being used and shared among guests, and passed hors d’oeuvres have the option of being presented on stations and served by staff, with tongs.
- Embrace streaming technology to reach out of town guests. From straightforward resources like Zoom to more advanced live streaming solutions, there is no shortage of options out there. We’re seeing some venues even offer up in-house streaming technology at no cost to help supplement existing events.
- Another proactive solution is CrowdRx, a portable rapid deployable fever screening system that’s used to look for above normal body temperature. CrowdRx also offers consulting services for a reasonable fee, and says they have yet to recommend the cancellation of a live event which they have consulted on.
Here are some more helpful links and resources:
- Corona and Force Majeure Contract Clauses from The National Law Review
- Coronavirus: A Guide for the Event Industry from The Vendry
- Event Cancellation Insurance from Hays
- An Informative (and funny) Update on Current Event Statuses
To our event pro community: what else have you been seeing, hearing or doing as you work through this challenging time? We’d love to hear from you directly or on social.
Sequence will continue to share information and solutions, and if we can be a resource in any capacity please don’t hesitate to reach out.