Coronavirus and your event

Be prepared and learn why arranging event insurance in Australia is still so important.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has and continues to affect events around the world. Regardless of event size, there are a number of steps that can be implemented by event managers to ensure they’re well researched, informed and prepared for the potential impacts of coronavirus.

24th March 2020

Australian’s are facing unprecedented times as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. Social restrictions announced by the Australian Government have been put in place to curb the health crisis our country is seeing however, it is evidently affecting events, big and small.

Event organisers are especially feeling the impacts of these restrictions with event cancellation insurance in Australia and abroad experiencing increased scrutiny from insurers, such as seeing coronavirus exclusions being applied on all new covers. Despite this, the coronavirus is a clear example of why insurance taken out in preparation for the unknown is so important. Whilst COVID 19 is now a known event, we do not know what might be around the corner.

There a number of steps organisers can implement to ensure they’re well researched, informed and prepared for the potential impacts of coronavirus.

Determining the potential for an outbreak

There are a variety of resources that can be used to evaluate the potential risks of moving ahead with an event.

Event planners should consider the following points when evaluating the possible risks of hosting an event during the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Assess restrictions or recommendations advised by Government and other official websites
  • There is a plethora of information currently circulated globally about the coronavirus and with so much out there, it's essential to know where to find accurate and up-to-date information.

    Visit The Australian Department of Health website or your state government websites to receive the latest information about the coronavirus.

    Large venues such as the International Convention Centre and Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre also have dedicated pages highlighting their latest updates.

  • Degree of anxiety expressed by attendees
  • The first priority for any event manager should be to ensure attendees health and safety. Regularly check your event communication channels to see if attendees have expressed concerns about transmission of the coronavirus, especially if they are required to travel for the event.

  • If attendees are travelling, where are they coming from?
  • Gain an understanding of the demographics of your attendees and where they are travelling from. It's important to know early on the areas or cities that have confirmed cases and whether your attendees will be travelling from known coronavirus epicentres.

  • What is the potential risk for attendees to become infected?
  • Using the information gathered from the above points, and any other additional research obtained, it is time to assess the degree of, or potential for, a community spread at the event.

    If an organiser decides to continue with the event, there are a few actions that can be taken to prepare all involved for the potential risks associated with the virus.

    Check your event insurance policy?

    With the World Health Organisation officially announcing the coronavirus as a pandemic, most new event cancellation insurance policies in Australia will exclude coronavirus. If you have any questions about your event insurance, make sure you contact your insurance broker as soon as they arise. Understanding coverage, exposure and mitigating your risks early is key to making informed decisions.

    Develop an on-site response plan

    Identify and develop an on-site response plan. This plan should be actioned if an attendee, volunteer or employee begins to displays symptoms or is confirmed to contract coronavirus at the event.

    1. Confirm the key communication method to inform attendees.
    2. Develop an appropriate statement in response to an outbreak.
    3. Ensure the attendee list is kept up-to-date in the lead up to the event.
    4. List all key internal stakeholders that would require an immediate update.

    Work closely with third-party venues

    The event venue also needs to be equally prepared for the possibilities that could arise as a result of the coronavirus.

    Share your on-site response plan with the relevant venue stakeholders and verify that they also have a plan in place.

    To minimise the likelihood of potential germs spreading, emphasise to venue staff the need to be diligent in cleaning high-touch areas in shared spaces. Also, to mitigate the possibility of potential germs spreading, consider reducing the use of re-usable products and err on the side of caution–i.e. Use disposable cups with lids and closed-cap water bottles.

    It is imperative that event planners feel confident the venue or hotel they are working with has the right steps and protocols in place to mitigate the risks of an outbreak.

    Be Proactive

    In the lead up to the event, conduct sessions with workers educating them on the symptoms, precautions and in-place communication protocols.

    Consider also, sending out a “Stay Healthy – Know Before You Go” email to both attendees and workers, so these tips are top of mind before the event.

    Ultimately, if changes are going to be made to any aspect of the event, make sure to update everyone early and often!

    Learn more on our event insurance page, or contact our event specialists on 1300 655 931.

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