Preparing for the “New Normal”: How to Safely Organize Community Events Post-Covid
The farmers’ market, yard sales, and parades are wonderful activities that pick up steam in late spring and early summer. But, how do they look for your residents?
Coming out of Covid has created changes in so much of our lives, including how municipalities should be holding events and encouraging others to think of public safety.
According to Governing.com, “It’s human nature to want to forget and move on. We are now better equipped to deal with infections and keep case fatality rates down…yet cases are rising once again and the nation seems to have let down its guard.”
It’s clear that no one person can predict the future of Covid-19, therefore, it’s even more important than ever to plan ahead. The National League of Cities (NLC) has shared a few tips for municipal leaders when planning events in the midst of this evolving situation.
First, it’s important to note that leaders and residents may have differing comfort levels when it comes to Covid-19. Therefore, The National League of Cities Service Brief encourages municipalities to continue to promote safe practices to prevent spread and foster mutual accountability. The “3 Ws” offer the gateway for every region to get back to business and events in a staged, safe manner:
- Wear a face mask in public where physical distancing is hard to maintain.
- Watch your distance and respect the distance between those who are not in your household.
- Wash your hands often.
These safe practices can be marketed all over town, however, those best practices aren’t the only thing to consider when planning your municipality’s 2022 summer events.
With the unpredictable nature of Covid-19 and the desire to continue hosting community events, it’s important to consider a few different things that you may not have needed to consider pre-pandemic. The NLC suggests a few tips for when planning a large municipal event:
- Create deadlines (such as 2 months, 1 month, 2 weeks out) when you will commit to re-evaluating the current environment and making updated decisions about safety precautions for attendees (even providing them the option to cancel within a certain timeframe).
- Connect with other cities that have run large events in the past few months to get their insight, lessons learned, and best practices.
- Is there a way to go hybrid? For events and meetings in the coming months, consider creating a hybrid option, reducing capacity, requiring masks, or considering other ways that the event can take place without the concern for public safety.
Overall, direct and constant communication with your residents and town leaders will be the best strategy this summer.
By taking into consideration differing comfort levels when it comes to Covid and consistently promoting safe practicalities, your team can reach a balance that can keep the local economy growing and your residents feeling safe and happy.