How to take your events outdoors

MD of Gazeboshop explains how to make the most of outdoor facilities and comply with social distancing.

Still from The Sound of Music (dir. Robert Wise, 1965)
Still from The Sound of Music (dir. Robert Wise, 1965)

While it is unlikely that many physical events will be permitted to take place over the next three months, it seems likely that venues with outdoor facilities will be some of the first to host events in the near future. 

Luigi Pannozzo, managing director of event shelter specialist Gazeboshop, believes outdoor spaces will have a key role in reopening the economy and wider society, given the lower risk posed by people meeting in the open air. 

"These venues will be crucial to lifting the industry from its knees and begin turning the wheels of the economy once again, and as such we must understand how to prepare for this eventuality," says Pannozzo.

Here are his tips on how to take your events outdoors.

Understand the legal regulations

"Planning an outdoor event comes with its own unique set of challenges at the best of times, but in today’s climate it is particularly difficult," says Pannozzo. "The safety of your attendees and staff is paramount and planning should begin months in advance to ensure that all the right precautions are taken.

"An advisable first step is to seek out specialist advice to be fully aware of all the legal regulations that apply to outdoor events. 

"Both the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 include specific rules on protecting health and safety at outdoor events, so make sure you are fully aware of these."

Carry out risk assessments

"You will need to carry out a risk assessment to identify all the potential risks of hosting dozens, if not hundreds of people in the same space," says Panozzo. "Some of these risks will surround food safety and fire safety, but others will be tied specifically to reducing the risk of COVID-19.

"This risk assessment will translate into a safety plan, which includes your strategies for minimising all potential risks and contingencies if things go wrong. For example, you will need to source the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all staff at the event, particularly for those in front-of-house. It may also be necessary to include temperature checks on arrival and provide hand sanitiser points. 

"The government should provide more clarity on this in the coming months, so make time to read through their guidelines."

Organise the space

"It is also important to utilise the outdoor space to its fullest potential," explains Panozzo. "Organise stands in a way that maximises the space while maintaining a safe environment for the attendees. 

"Ensure there is plenty of cover from the sun (or more likely rain in Britain!) to keep staff and attendees comfortable, with food and refreshments on hand. 

"If the outdoor venue is on a balcony or rooftop, make sure to frame rather than block the view." 

For more features and breaking news sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in

5 ways technology can help hotels reopen safely

5 ways technology can help hotels reopen safely

New innovations will help hotels solve the challenges of coronavirus so that guests can return, says Louisa Watson of Wyboston Lakes Resort.

Dear C&IT: Diversity should be part of the process right from the start

Dear C&IT: Diversity should be part of the process right from the start

Event planners need to challenge the diversity of their internal teams and their clients, says WRG Live's Steve Porter

LIVE UPDATES: England to relax quarantine rules for visitors from 10 July

LIVE UPDATES: England to relax quarantine rules for visitors from 10 July

Find out which countries are on partial or national lockdown, what travel restrictions are in place and what size gatherings are allowed.

'Attention to detail is key'

'Attention to detail is key'

A-List 2020: Stephanie Aviss is an account manager at Top Banana

What does the future hold for incentive travel?

What does the future hold for incentive travel?

C&IT speaks to Black Tomato's David Heron to find out why he's feeling cautiously optimistic.

5 ways the industry can recover from the crisis

5 ways the industry can recover from the crisis

Catch up on our Crisis Briefing webinar, where experts from across the global MICE industry share their latest COVID-19 recovery plans.

Case study: Android's Partner Summit in Berlin

Case study: Android's Partner Summit in Berlin

Agency Wonder brought the tech giant's new branding to life in a former techno club in the German capital.

Events industry urges UK government to set reopening date

Events industry urges UK government to set reopening date

Senior industry figures argue that the lack of confirmed date risks losing major business to international competitors.

'It's great to be involved in the planning but onsite is where you really learn'

'It's great to be involved in the planning but onsite is where you really learn'

A-List 2020: Sarah Potts is an events project manager at BI Worldwide.

Dreaming down under: the Australia incentive

While global travel is on hold, it’s a time to dream. One Australian expert discusses her ultimate incentive itinerary for first-time visitors, including flying celebrated chefs around the country and dinner under the outback stars…