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10 Things You Need to Know Now – September Edition

September 20, 2021

1. What’s going on with Delta?

  • In the U.S., the variant has slowed, and cases are falling in the Southeast and California, however, cases are still rising in the Midwest and Northeast.
  • Some experts think that the return to schools and offices, as well as people gathering with more frequency could have cases continue to climb in September, before subsiding in October.
  • Epidemiologists have said that Delta’s path across the United States has depended heavily upon vaccination rates, social behaviors, the weather and various levels of precautions.
  • Around 1,500 coronavirus deaths are being reported across the country each day, the most since the winter of 2020. More than 650,000 deaths have been linked to the pandemic in the United States.

2. What’s going on with events?

  • For the most part, events are proceeding with safety precautions in place.
  • In a scan of 25 major shows, 59% have a vaccine or negative test requirement.
  • More than a third of the shows have a vaccine or negative test requirement and a mask requirement.

3. What happened with the events held in August?

  • Some have not published information, but overall, the reported cases are very low.
  • What we have seen so far supports the premise that events can be held safely, with proper protocols.

4. How are people feeling about going to events?

  • Several surveys point to hesitancy for in-person attendance. Safety, and the perception of safety, is key to making your attendees feel comfortable traveling to your event.

5. How do I make people feel safe?

  • Communicate early and often about the plans for safety, and the monitoring of the situation.
  • Survey your attendees to understand their feelings.
  • Use simple language, bulleted lists, and icons, and place the information front and center on your webpage.

6. I have a vaccination policy; do I need to make people wear masks?

This is a decision each organization needs to make, but it is important to consider two factors:

  • Vaccinated people can still spread the Delta variant, as well as get sick from it.  
  • The more that the virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to mutate into variants that could possibly be more dangerous, prolonging the pandemic.

7. What about the politics around vaccines and masks?

  • There is an extreme divide across party lines, with a recent Gallup Poll showing that 94% of vaccinated Democrats favoring vaccine requirements for events, compared with 9% of unvaccinated Republicans.
  • However, this poll, along with several other polls, show that the majority of Americans do support vaccine requirements and/or enhanced safety protocols for travel, events, offices, and indoor dining.

8. What else do I need to be thinking about?

  • Several sources point to a reduction in business travel spending. So even if your attendees want to come to the event, they may not have the approval to do so.

9. Is this ever going to end?

  • Yes, all pandemics end eventually. However, most experts point to COVID-19 being endemic, meaning it is something we will be living with for a long time.
  • This means that if we want to gather, hold events, go out to dinner, travel, etc., then we have to adapt to safety protocols.

10. It’s too much to deal with, I’m just going to do a virtual event this year.

Every organization is going to need to make the decision that is best for their audience. But there are several factors that can be used to calibrate your decision:

  • Is my event in a hotspot area?
  • What are the local 14-day trends for reported cases and hospitalizations?
  • What are the local vaccination rates?
  • What is the local hospital capacity?
  • What is my ability to enhance safety? Can I provide two out of three: outside, masked, distance?
  • What is the perception of my organization holding a large event?
  • Am I at risk of losing my audience to alternatives?
  • What is the sentiment of audience?
  • What is the ROI for my organization of holding the event? Will we lose money by doing both in-person and hybrid? Will we lose money on cancellation fees?
  • What is the risk and potential impact on my audience if there is an outbreak? If your audience is composed of healthcare workers, teachers, other frontline workers, are you putting the greater public at risk if these people were to get sick?

11. I still have questions

  • We all do – no one knows for certain what will happen. But we are closely monitoring the situation on a daily basis and will continue to share relevant updates.
  • We’re here to help! If you’d like to discuss anything further, contact beth@360livemedia.com to set up a complimentary consult that is focused on the next steps for your event.