The unpredictability of changing health and safety regulations, as well as new COVID-19 sub-variants, can make it seem overwhelming to plan a conference or trade show. While some organizations are still choosing virtual or hybrid events, many people are eager to return to in-person gatherings. By providing a COVID-19 test onsite for each person, you can enjoy the benefits of an in-person event while ensuring attendees feel comfortable. Learn more about concierge COVID testing services in this post from TOPLAB®.
Keeping Conference Attendees Safe With Onsite Testing
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of complication to the already detailed logistics of putting together a large conference. You may feel confident about low transmission rates in your conference’s host city, but your attendees could be coming from dozens – or even hundreds – of different locations.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers many resources to help plan large, multi-day gatherings safely. One option is to require that all attendees provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test one to three days before the event. While this can help keep COVID-positive individuals from infecting others, it requires event organizers to validate each test. And attendees who administer an at-home test themselves may test incorrectly, leading to false negatives.
As an alternative, CDC suggests providing a testing table or tent at the event itself. Rapid tests can provide quick results, allowing event staff to know right away whether attendees have tested negative for the COVID-19 virus or not. If an attendee tests positive, they can help prevent community spread by leaving the event and attending virtually instead.
Best Practices for Large Events
In addition to providing onsite testing, conference planners can take additional steps to keep all participants safe. Consider the following measures as you plan your conference:
- Setting: Can portions of your conference take place outdoors? Does your venue include small or cramped meeting rooms? Can you improve air circulation at indoor venues with additional ventilation or HEPA air filtration equipment?
- Vaccination status: Will you require event attendees to be fully vaccinated? Do you plan to document proof of vaccination for each conference participant?
- Pre-event communications: Recognizing that caseloads and public health guidance may change leading up to the event, ensure that you are communicating your health and safety protocols to your attendees. If you are expecting to wear masks, get vaccinated, or get tested onsite, make sure you share that information well in advance. If you need to alter or cancel portions of the conference, communicate with participants as soon as possible.
- Social distancing: By their very nature, conferences require people to gather in groups for seminars, keynote speeches, and meals. However, conference planners can still put measures in place to encourage social distancing. Space out seating arrangements, especially in dining areas. Serve boxed or plated meals instead of setting up a buffet line that can become crowded.
- Masking: CDC classifies each county’s community level as low, medium, or high, based on the number of COVID-19 cases and hospital data. If your conference is taking place in a county with a Medium or High community level, you may want to impose a masking requirement for both attendees and conference staff. Consider providing disposable masks at the registration desk or check-in area to ensure each participant has a mask handy.
With some thoughtful preparation, you can provide your staff and conference-goers with peace of mind.
Book Concierge COVID-19 Testing Services Through TOPLAB®
When you need to keep your event attendees safe, rely on TOPLAB®. Our full-service laboratory provides thorough and reliable lab testing services for conferences, trade shows, weddings, and other large events. Our experienced phlebotomists provide testing onsite, so all your event attendees can easily take a COVID test without leaving the venue. Event organizers can choose between nasal swab tests or antibody tests.
TOPLAB® is based in New Jersey and provides lab testing services to customers across the United States. We utilize the latest technology and equipment to provide excellent customer service with rapid turnaround times. In addition to COVID-19 testing, TOPLAB® offers: