As the world starts to get a grip on the pandemic, even though we see a delayed roll out of vaccines in South Africa, we need to discuss the safety of in-person and hybrid events for both guests and the corporates that host them.
As SA deals with the beginnings of our third wave, we see on our televisions, live crowds (in reduced numbers) at sporting events in the UK, the rest of Europe and the United States of America where vaccinations continue at pace but by no means at herd immunity level. Leaving me with the question: Have the authorities realised that being in an open-air stadium/controlled environment is safer than being in a shopping mall – which it clearly is? Or is there simply a way that we can add an additional layer into local environments that makes the risk of contracting Covid-19 reduced to a more acceptable level?
Worx Group recently hosted a hybrid event for a large corporate client of ours in a studio environment in Johannesburg. An awards ceremony that only made sense if the award winners were able to be acknowledged in person. Their achievement warranted that.
With this brief we were able to build a safe hybrid environment involving 60 guests and executives, nearly 100 crew and entertainers and nearly 1,000 people online – all totally safely and at very low risk to our client in both reputation and individual health.
Well, we obviously stuck to the Covid protocols for hybrid events, we worked very closely with JOC but, most of all, we added an extra layer of safety. We made use of rapid antigen testing on site. Testing every single crew member, executive, entertainer and guest on their arrival to site.
It was non-negotiable.
The process was simple: If you were crew, your call time was 30 minutes earlier; you arrived, went to see the trained medic who administered the rapid antigen test, waited the 20-minute window for your result and, if you were a negative, received your Covid-tested tag and made your way into site. We remained masked up and kept social distance as much as possible, all knowing that the extra layer of protection was there to keep us all safe.
The protocol for guests was much the same, our guests arrived and were put through the same private screening process and test. They, however, were lucky enough to wait in a custom-built hospitality zone outside of the studio, complete with heating on that cold evening, food, beverages and background music – it felt just like arriving at a corporate event pre-Covid. It was fabulous!
Just like our crew – our guests were asked to remain masked up but everyone felt safer knowing that the entire room had been tested. The atmosphere was palpably different to other Covid events as our guests made their way from hospitality into the studio. The vibe was up, the energy of the live event was there and everyone fed off it.
The show was a raging success but more than just the show, the mindset had shifted; this can be done. It needs a bit of budget dedicated to it, it needs to be understood and well communicated and it needs to be well managed but it can be done and it makes such a huge difference. Having that audience energy in the room can never be beaten!
Interestingly – since we’ve done this one and people have seen it – more clients are asking for it, the appetite to host guests is there. People will come, it works (we found one asymptomatic crew member in our testing cycle) and it’s worth it.
Hybrid events are the new framework for events of the future, the benefits are obvious but there’s no reason to wait. They can be safely hosted right now. Contact us
and we’ll help bring yours to life.