Live event safety is on everyone’s mind. With most live events cancelled, there has been a surge in virtual events online. Meetings, galas, fundraisers, performances … many have taken to the leveraging available online technology such as Zoom to create live events over the net. It’s a simple proposition. The audience is at home. The production team is located in a production environment. Depending on the event, there may be speakers and even performances. Some may chime in from a distance online; others may be in the production venue. As things open up, there will be opportunities for everyone (within the gathering guidelines) to attend in a controlled venue.
The information available through such channels as the Government of Canada and Government of Alberta provide articulated restrictions as well as various other guidelines and assessments. Gatherings, currently, are limited to 15 people in a smaller venue, and 50 people in an outdoor venue. For the most part, it’s all about common sense.
- Stay 2 metres apart
- Wear a mask
- Wash your hands
The Government’s guidelines relating to prohibited activities include:
- league play, events, festivals or competitions
- any outdoor event or gathering of more than 50 people, including private gatherings such as backyard barbecues and weddings
- a situation where physical distancing isn’t possible – people are required to maintain 2 metres (6 feet) from each other, unless they are from the same household
- attending most public recreation and private entertainment facilities, such as:
- swimming pools and gyms
- casinos and bingo halls
Most importantly, for those who are participating with others in a venue, it is incumbent on them to opt out if they are experiencing symptoms.
Most common symptoms:
- dry cough
Less common symptoms:
- aches and pains
- sore throat
- loss of taste or smell
- a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- chest pain or pressure
Within a production or performance environment, here are some guidelines that will ensure everyone can be safe.
- Publish a floor plan of the venue indicating key areas and positions.
- Positions of production personnel including camera operators, sound, lighting and other video technicians
- Positions of hosts, speakers and performers
- Staging areas or waiting areas when speakers, hosts or performers are not active
- If there is an audience, clearly mark out the area open to the audience; hand them a published guideline to make them aware of physical limitations (where to stand, how to move around)
- Location of sanitizers, wipes, and (if available) masks
- Location of where the aforementioned should be disposed
Publish clear guidelines and procedures for participants within the venue.
- When to wash hands or sanitize
- When to wipe down gear
- How to move within the area using arrows on the floor as well as marked gathering or staging areas, which will help people move about in a controlled manner
- Use technology to facilitate interaction and enhance safety.
- Cell phones and wireless com systems allow producers, directors, technicians, hosts and performers to communicate (something they were already doing within this industry before the virus emerged)
- Install a thermal-cam system (such as Dahua) to detect body temperatures
There is much speculation as to what will happen once the world gets beyond this COVID experience. Whatever it will be, it will not be a complete return to the previous norm. It will be interesting to see what government and other regulatory bodies do moving forward. One might say it will probably put a lot of — distance — between the past and the new norm to come.