In this post: the biggest obstacles delaying the return of events – mask attitudes and debates, the COVID-19 virus, the availability of adequate testing, the efficacy of approved vaccines and adequate vaccine supplies to inoculate mass populations.
Event organizers will run into numerous obstacles to produce in-person events as we once knew them. The most pressing challenge will be individual attitudes and debates regarding COVID-19 (to mask or not to mask) and then COVID-19 itself. The pandemic buckets overfow: the grief from personal loss, the inability of people to be with family members in hospitals and nursing homes and over the holidays, closing up of homes and estates for those who have died, and lingering health complications for those who were infected.
Today many are not social distancing or following government mandates. This root cause is a major deterrent to returning to every day life. The overarching concern is that while people can protect themselves, they don’t trust that others are taking similar precautions. To address the situation, large segments of the population are cocooning until a vaccine (with a high efficacy rate) becomes available. Rising COVID-19 cases and deaths grow each day reinforcing the need to shelter in place.
According to an article by Claire Riley on July 6, 2020, on CNET, Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and a world leader in pandemic preparedness,”I think that mask wearing and some degree of social distancing, we will be living with — hopefully living with happily — for several years.”
Other dominoes are falling, too. The decimated jobs market – especially in the tourism industry – and lost income, or should I write, record unemployment, is yet another massive problem. Lacking money, consumers stop spending which drives down sales and reduces the need for products and services. A downward spiral exists that likely can only be improved with more government stimulus. With the two foundational levels of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – survival and safety – crumbling, it’s difficult for many to project forward to brighter days.
During a Virginia Corporation Tourism webinar on December 4, 2020, Adam Sacks of Tourism Economics suggested that, similar to some international countries that stipulate inbound visitors provide proof of vaccination, this could become a requirement for event participants.
Pre-pandemic the population of the United States was 330 million people with the Population Reference Bureau reporting a global population of 7.8 billion. Even when vaccines become available, the biggest obstacles will be in the production of enough vaccines to inoculate the masses, followed by who will receive the shots and in what sequence.
How soon before the average person can obtain a dose of a vaccine? For many – who lead an active, healthy lifestyle and are more likely to be event-goers, they may be left to stand in line or wait for a very long time.
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How Long Before Festivals and Events Can Return to the New Normal?
To learn more about event and festival management, check out “Secrets to Successful Events: How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals.” For those with event planning experience, consider, “Secrets to Successful Events Resource Guide: 42+ Easy-to-Use Tools and Resources.” Both are written by internationally known author and speaker Lynn Fuhler and are available on Amazon and at major booksellers.
To obtain a copy of The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide, click here.