Everyone in the industry knows that events are going gangbusters at the moment. A combination of pent up demand and the catch up of postponed events.
This has led to a shortage of staff across the board. Jobs boards are loaded with offers for event staff, technicians, catering staff and almost any other event job you can think of. Interestingly not for security, which must be the cushiest job at most events – so many security persons, so little to do.
Not only jobs boards, there are posters in the toilets of event venues inviting punters to work for the venue.
I was speaking to a freelance technician friend this week who is now picking what jobs he want to take, and he says it is not the money, but rather, would I like doing that job?
But the alarming news is that COVID cases are on the rise again. We were all hopeful that coming out of winter we would see a decrease, but that is not the case.
Although we are unlikely to see lockdowns again I expect to see a ramping up of warnings, and of masks.
However, at the events I have been to over the past couple of weeks you wouldn’t know there was still an issue. No masks, plenty of close contact, packed dancefloors.
So what should event managers be doing?
One of the things event managers have relied on previously was Rapid Antigen Tests. However the effectiveness of RATs is now being called into question. In this week’s Coronacast Dr Norman Swan had this to say
“And the problem is they were designed for earlier versions of the virus. Do they work for Omicron? And there have not been very many studies into this, and they are pretty mixed. On balance, rapid antigen tests are less accurate with Omicron. And the question is how less accurate. The research suggests that, for example, even with high viral loads… so there’s this thing called the CT value, and the CT value is… essentially the lower it is, the more virus you’ve got on board. And you’d think that the rapid antigen test would be picking up the virus when you’re at low CTs, in other words, you’ve got a lot of virus aboard. But in fact, the balance of evidence seems to be that the rapid antigen test with Omicron, particularly BA5 as the year has evolved, takes longer to come positive.”
Listen to Coronacast or read the transcript: Does anyone give a rat about RATs anymore?
One of the things event organisers can control is air movement. Dr Swan keeps reminding us that decent air circulation is one of the best options for stopping the spread (along with masks). So if you are booking a venue it is your responsibility as an event organiser to quiz the venue owner on the effectiveness of their air circulation.
Obviously the safest venues as far as air movement is concerned are outdoors, followed by venues with very high ceilings such as theatres, exhibition halls, plenary halls, etc. So be very wary of small venues with low ceilings and poor ventilation.
In the end you don’t what your event to become known as a super-spreader. Do you?
Now of course these would be burning issues that you would expect to be discussed in detail at an industry conference. So it is good to see two sessions in particular scheduled at the PCOA conference coming up next month. First, a panel discussion – Reimagining Business Events – Aligning our thinking and then Rising to the Workforce Challenge.
Interestingly, given the advice about ventilation, the conference theme is A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
I can’t attend the conference because I work in events, not just conferences, and we still have events coming up beyond the conference dates. So I hope someone who does attend will share their thoughts with our readers.