Breaking Free of Quarantine: How to Run Outdoor Events Safely in 2021

Can you see it? Things are finally beginning to return to normal.

The world is starting to open back up, and even though the Delta variant is still complicating matters, the widespread availability of vaccinations and COVID tests have allowed corporations, families, and social groups to congregate once more. While most events are still being planned with a healthy dose of caution (as it should be), and some are suffering the effects of a lack of appropriate care (getting canceled), it’s still safer than it has been in over a year to plan and attend events. 

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That being said, it’s still safer to plan outdoor events, as the Delta variant has been known to infect people within seconds indoors. If so much as one attendee slips up at an indoor event, the whole crowd could get infected within moments. So if you’re looking to finally get out of quarantine, go outside, and plan a get-together with people you dearly miss, but you aren’t sure how to do it safely, you’re in the right place. 

Here are a few tips for hosting your own outdoor event.

Choose Your Venue

The importance of the venue you choose cannot be understated, as it is the backbone of your event and should be suited to your purposes. The amount of infrastructure provided by the venue and whether it’s usually used to host outdoor events will determine how difficult it will be for you to set your event up. You’ll want to consider venues that have a good combination of the infrastructure you need and the tone (or vibes) you wish to set. 

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For example, most events will need a stage of some kind; you’ll likely want to choose a venue with one already provided, but will it be larger or smaller? Will the space around the stage be enclosed, or will it be more of an open-air setting with little infrastructure? Also, take the weather into consideration and anything about the venue that might cause problems when it comes time to host your event. Having contingency plans to deal with unexpected issues, and picking a venue that allows you to execute those plans without difficulty, may help in the long run.

Provide Food, Drinks, and Amenities

This can be tricky for the COVID-conscious event planner. While most buffet-related dining options are likely out, you’ll need to plan a socially distanced, safe way for your guests to grab a bite to eat. Hiring a catering service can be an excellent way to go, as well as plotting out your dining room setting with socially distanced seating. 

You’ll also naturally want to provide swag for event-goers: things like custom-made branded towels can serve as a good, souvenir-like gift for outdoor picnic seating, but you’ll also want to keep complimentary amenities on hand should your guests need anything. In a post-COVID event setting, common amenities might include pocket hand sanitizers, sunscreen, bug spray, and Lysol wipes.

Proper Sanitation and Pest Control

This may seem obvious, but these two easily overlooked mechanics of outdoor events can easily make or break your event’s success. In 2021, sanitation is more important than ever, and in addition to sanitizing regularly touched services every so often, there should be sanitizer stations available at various points around the event. Providing clean and sanitary restroom areas is also a given, as without them your guests will likely not be too happy. 

Outdoors, you’ll likely have a bigger problem with pests than you would during an inside event. Hire exterminators to give the venue a go-around before the event starts, keep your food covered at all times, and don’t be afraid to use tactics like citronella candles or plates of sugar water to repel these insect invaders.

Caution Will Keep You From Getting Canceled

Putting aside all of these basic tips for setting up an outdoor event, you may also want to institute regulations that address vaccinations and COVID-testing. While requiring attendees to get a vaccine can be tricky and controversial, you may want to consider having unvaccinated attendees get tested within 72 hours of the event. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and even with the pandemic beginning to wane, you can’t be too careful.

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Follow these tips, and you’ll be running a successful, fun outdoor event in no time!

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