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The Show Organizer’s Guide to Safe In-Person Registration During COVID-19

Lines, Desks, and Attendees – Oh My!

The show must go on-site! Here are some tips and tricks to keep your attendees and staff members safe through registration. When the opportunity to again be able to hold events in-person comes, the responsibility to keep the process safe for everyone remains crucial. As the first stop for all attendees, your registration space is key in setting the safety standards for your event. Along with the personal responsibility to keep all masks on inside, your attendees and staff will expect you to monitor high touch points and maintain social distancing guidelines. For in-depth suggestions, take a look at our tips below.

Layout will make or break:

When events are safe enough to move back inside, first and foremost, your registrants have to adhere to the 6’ guideline as put out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This will require more space and a little extra budget set aside for registration than allotted for past events. Along with staying 6’ behind one another, your layout must ensure that registrants stay 6’ apart side-to-side. You can do this by using additional rope to cordon off more space between each queue line or consider investing in rope-top germ shields (see Image A) to save that lateral queue space. When your registrant has made it to the front of the line to collect their badge, a germ shield on the registration counter will help maintain the safety of your staff as well. And adding an extra 6’ behind the registrant will ensure any passing traffic will remain a safe distance as well.

Signage is key:

In tandem with the ideal layout, signage is essential to instill confidence in your registrants that your organization has their safety in the forefront of its mind. However, keep in mind that too much signage may overwhelm your attendees and create concern. For example, implementing simple ‘Entrance Only’ and ‘Exit Only’ signs will reduce registrant cross-traffic and therefore create fewer opportunities for transmission without directly evoking the thought of coronavirus. The 6’ distancing guideline can also be subtly implemented by eye-catching floor clings only visible to those directly above it. Also consider inserting small “mask on” icons to all of your branded signage. If you do want to opt for bolder and more noticeable signage, some expo services companies are now offering rope and stanchion with rope that repeatedly reads “REMAIN 6’ APART” in neon colors. Find balance in your signage to inform and direct while maintaining a confident and calm atmosphere.

Stock up on disinfectants:

What is the purpose of changing your layout and signage if the newly earned indoor space doesn’t stay clean? Most venues have increased the frequency and quality of cleaning before and during events. Reach out to your venue contact to request their procedures. Although the venue may assist, it is always better to maintain your own safety standards here. We recommend staying stocked up on a combination of disinfecting products for hard surfaces, as well as cloth surfaces. Regular sanitizing of the registration desk counters, germ guards, rope and station, and all equipment behind the desk will ensure a safer space. Set a reminder to disinfect regularly, whether it be every hour or every four hours. This schedule can be adhered to closely for back-of-house but may need to be adjusted around peak times for front-of-house. This consistency and thoroughness will show your attendees further that you are keeping their safety on the forefront of your mind and will ensure the removal of any potential hazards. Plan on adding a person responsible for the cleaning – it will be constant.

Some extra tips:

Avoid congestion at the desk by ensuring appropriate staffing. Expecting an influx of local attendees to register onsite before your welcome ceremony? Is there a popular speaker hosting a session on a particular day? Is your venue accessible by and do your attendees use metro, bus or shuttle? Consider tracking these items and prepare your staffing accordingly.

If you’re hosting a small event, you can mail the name badges directly to the registrants to eliminate the need for pre-registered attendees to stop by the registration desk all-together.

In the end, we as an industry have to do our best to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Our members’ continued education and health as well as our companies’ and peers’ future growth depends on it. Following some these suggestions will undoubtedly elevate your preparedness and help move our industry a step closer to recovery.