Events During COVID: Answers to Common Questions From Event Planners
Planning events during COVID can seem tricky and, stressful and even overwhelming if you are unsure of where to begin. The prospect of planning an event where COVID can spread easily can cause you to steer clear and away from the idea altogether.
However, taking precautionary steps can help with the planning and logistics of any event, during or post-COVID.
Below, we break down answers to common questions we receive from event planners who are still committed to planning an event while abiding by COVID safety protocols and CDC guidelines.
#1. Does HIPAA prevent businesses and individuals from asking whether customers or clients have received a COVID-19 vaccine?
No. According to HHS.org, businesses and individuals are not prohibited from asking any person (including HIPAA-covered entities and corporate associates) about their particular vaccination status, including COVID-19 vaccines currently on the market.
The privacy rule (here) applies only to the following entities:
- Health care providers that conduct standard electronic transactions
- Healthcare clearinghouses
- Health plans
Sometimes, extended business partners/associates.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule also does not regulate the ability of covered associates, partners, and entities to request any information from visitors and/or patients. Instead, the current HIPAA Privacy Rule regulates when and how specific associates and entities are permitted to both disclose and/or use protected healthcare information.
Ultimately, the current HIPAA Privacy Rule does not prohibit any covered health plan, hospital, or covered doctor from inquiring about an individual’s vaccination status. This also extends to certain businesses and associates that are also protected under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
The following situations are exempt from the HIPAA Privacy Rule when involving an individual:
Employers, schools, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other individuals all may inquire about the vaccination status of another individual, including when inquiring about the COVID-19 vaccine(s).
When someone inquires about the workforce members of a company and whether they are currently vaccinated (such as a nursing home or a home health agency).
Ask another individual, service provider, or medical professional if they are vaccinated.
If you are planning to host an event in any state, it is highly advisable to check with state and federal laws based on your preferred venue. Some states differ with their current laws when it comes to individuals disclosing their vaccination status under certain and specific circumstances.
#2: If we require guests to be vaccinated for an event, how can we inform attendees ahead of time?
If you are hosting an event that will require attendees to show proof of their vaccination, you can use a custom checkout question or create a custom terms section within your online ticket and registration page(s).
Using a custom question or terms section can provide an opportunity to have guests confirm they acknowledge the requirement to show proof of a vaccine (or a recent COVID-19 test) prior to entrance.
You can choose to determine what requirements are necessary based on your venue location, current restrictions in place, as well as whether your event will be hosted inside or outdoors.
#3: What is a mobile health pass and how can I use one for my upcoming event?
As mobile health passes become more prevalent in everyday life, using one to plan your next event is obvious.
A mobile health pass provides a digital solution for seamless check-ins and vaccination status verification for individuals and businesses alike.
Using a mobile health pass for your next event can help you track users’ vaccination status, verify identities, and even ensure that all guests have been cleared with a negative COVID-19 test before they are permitted entrance to help maximize safety.
#4: Do we have to require people to be vaccinated to attend our upcoming event?
Whether you are planning a major outdoor festival or a small art fundraiser for corporate partners, you will need to research your state laws and current mandates ahead of time.
Regulations, restrictions, and mandates vary from state to state.
However, if you choose to allow guests to attend your event without proof of vaccination or without a mask requirement, it is imperative to inform guests they may attend at their own risk.
Using a custom checkout section within your ticket registration page can ensure that all attendees acknowledge they are attending a non-masked or non-vaccinated event at their own risk.
You can check and keep up with the latest CDC guidelines for COVID-19 protocols here.
#5: What are some ways to create a safer event environment during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Creating a safer event environment during the COVID-19 pandemic can help increase turnout while simultaneously providing peace of mind for you as an event planner, and your event’s attendees.
If you are committed to creating a safer event environment during COVID for your next event, use the following tips:
Offer online registration: Provide online ticketing and registration on mobile devices, tablets, and traditional web browsers.
Accept multiple payment options: Allow attendees to pay online using a variety of payment methods. If you are accepting payments in person, always wear gloves, accept only exact change, and avoid touching the money for a few days after the event has passed prior to making your deposits.
Choose a venue that is suitable for social distancing: Choose a venue that provides room for social distancing and plenty of fresh air. Or use the Purplepass auto social distancing tool.
Use social distancing markings: Use temporary markings or decorations to indicate social distancing for your event attendees.
Make smarter food and beverage choices: Require all food and beverage vendors to serve items in disposable containers. Avoid buffets and foods and drinks that may cause others to come in contact with each other.
Assigned seating: Using assigned seating is one of the best ways to minimize contact and to help mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 during an event.
#6: What are technologies and software solutions that can help create a safer experience for guests and attendees?
Using today’s technologies and software solutions can help to significantly increase the safety and protection of any event, even during COVID.
The following can help streamline the process of planning events during COVID, regardless of the type and size of the event you intend to host.
Ticketing registration system: An online ticket and registration system provides attendees with the ability to pay online, register ahead of time, and skip waiting in line. Avoid lines and crowds to help with the social distancing requirements of your event.
Touchless ticket scanners: Use touchless ticket scanners to provide quick access and minimal waiting for guests at your events.
Allow online payments: Using an online ticketing system provides the ability to purchase tickets remotely and from any location.
Assigned seating: Include assigned seating to prevent putting people too close to one another while automatically providing seats with adequate spacing between groups.
Order food and drinks in advance: Provide the option to order food and beverages in advance to reduce long lines and to prevent close contact.
Order merchandise online: You can also provide the option of ordering merchandise from your business and from other vendors online and with the use of a smartphone to help reduce lines and potential for contact.
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