How to Navigate a Snap Lockdown When You’re an Event Creator

Every dictionary has a section dedicated to COVID-19-inspired phrases. One of the most popular is “snap lockdown”, one of the most commonly used. Snap lockdown is a short-term reintroduction or restriction on movement and gathering within a defined geographic area to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. It has been a popular method of managing COVID-19 epidemics in Australia, especially in the capital cities. Some snap lockdowns can be implemented in less than one day. It is important to understand what they mean for your event and what you can do as an organizer to protect your reputation and financial investment.

Snap lockdowns to date

Every state and territory of Australia has been affected by snap lockdowns. This could be because they have locked down their borders or closed them to “hot spots”, or even entire states. Snap lockdowns have affected all cities, including the capitals. These lockdowns can be triggered with little notice and cause major disruption to local events and major ones. Bluesfest, a world-famous blues and roots music festival, was canceled while guests were on their way to the opening day.

Unfortunately, you cannot prevent a snap lockdown from happening. As an event creator, your best option is to monitor your territory or state coronavirus alerts for signs of infection. This will allow you to know when cases could trigger a lockdown. You’ll also need to have the event guidelines, COVID-safe plan and social distancing regulations for each state or territory.

  • ACT
  • New South Wales
  • Northern Territory
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia

Canceling and postponing an event

Your event’s COVID-safe planning is more than guest safety and following the guidelines. Your plan should include a plan that can quickly be executed in case of a lockdown. This will allow you to minimize inconveniences for guests and the financial impact.

The type of event and lockdown will determine whether you can postpone or cancel. You need to think about whether the talent and other resources that you require for your event are still available, as well as clauses in the vendor contracts for everything from the venue to food. If you are confident that your event will go ahead, make sure it is safe and comply with applicable government regulations.

A well-managed cancellation process is crucial to your reputation as an event organizer and the success of future events. You should cease selling tickets as soon as you receive a snap lockdown. You should get an event cancellation quote before you start an event planning to ensure that you have the funds available for these expenses.

You can cancel the event and give a refund but don’t forget to keep in touch with those there. You might have another event planned or set a date for next year’s event. Let them know via email and social media. You can sweeten the deal by offering incentives such as pre-sale access and priority seating to minimize financial losses. This will allow you to keep attendees interested in future events. Eventbrite allows you to transfer your event to another date or honor all tickets purchased.

Go online to attend virtual or hybrid events.

While Australia’s COVID-19 situation is improving each week, safety at large events remains a concern until COVID-19 immunity becomes widespread. It’s worth looking at event formats that offer a positive event experience with minimal stress.

Safety requirements such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and gathering attendee information can increase administrative burden and risk. If your event has more than a certain number of attendees, you must create a COVID safe list for your venue.

What are the alternatives? You have two options: 100% virtual or hybrid events that combine online and in-person guests. What are the benefits? The benefits?

A few examples are interactive polls, breakout rooms that can be accessed from anywhere, and real-time whiteboards to facilitate brainstorming. Brick-and-mortar stores are also going virtual. Brands like Anthropologie have moved their in-store events online and connected Eventbrite and Zoom to provide seamless guest experiences.

Hybrid events are becoming more popular. They are ideal if you have speakers or guests who need to co-locate for success. With fewer attendees, you can reduce social distancing and avoid the need to search venues with a certain capacity. It will be much easier to switch to a hybrid or virtual event in the event of a sudden lockdown.

Communicate with your ticket-holders

Snap lockdowns are not something anyone wants. To give your guests peace of mind, you should set expectations for your event listing.

You should, at a minimum, confirm that your COVID-19 cancellation policy and COVID-safe plans are in place. Suppose there is any community transmission in your region during the days leading to your event. In that case, you should follow your guidelines and communicate with your attendees about the safety precautions in place. Also, address any additional safety precautions that you are taking to ensure your guests’ safety. To give your guests a heads-up about the venue, such as the COVID-safe rules for mask-wearing and venue check-in procedures, and to avoid awkward conversations at the door, reiterate these policies.

Are you expecting guests from out of state? You are expecting guests from interstate.

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