The Ultimate Pandemic Group Planning Guide

  • July 22, 2020
  • Victoria Phillips
  • 0

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, the nation has been slowly returning to life. Without a vaccine yet in place, it stands to reason that there is still fear about going back to a typical routine. However, with proper risk mitigation, you don’t have to remain isolated. We’ve scoured the CDC Guidelines to bring you a blog that has all your need to know info on getting back to the group life safely. So gather your group and start planning for some fun, exciting, and safe pandemic travel with the ultimate guide to group planning, coronavirus style. 

The First Steps

The first steps you need to take for safe group planning are to adjust your event planning checklist to the new normal, ensure you’ve got the proper group structure, and be mindful of and mitigate risk levels when planning your trip or event.

Your Pandemic Event Planning Checklist

  • Figure out your event goals and objectives
  • Assess the level of risk for your event planning
    • Type of event and the risk of exposure
    • Check on travel restrictions and your destinations regulations (vary among cities and states)
    • Cases and hospitalization rates in the area
  • Select your event's date with your quarantine pod
  • Develop the master logistics plan (hotel, train, restaurants, museums, etc.)
  • Create your event on an online platform to manage RSVP’s, payments, and more from a safe pre-event social distance.
  • Review CDC guidelines.
  • Establish a COVID-19 exposure emergency plan
  • Have fun, and stay safe!

The Proper Group Structure

First and foremost, it is no secret that the more you limit your contact with others, the less likely you will be to contract COVID-19. There is an alternative way you can remain distant, but get that much-needed connection/interaction with others at the same time: pods, also known as social bubbles. In this structure, you and a few people (5 to 10 max) with whom you are close, get together for special events or just to hang out. Your pod can go out with each other without social distancing within your pod while following the CDC guidelines for those outside of the bubble. This, in summary, saves you your sanity and provides the perfect avenue for safe group activities and events.

Choosing the Right Pod
  • Choose close friends and family members with whom you get along well and love spending lots of time with as your pod will be your main social structure throughout the pandemic.
  • Select those that are being as careful as you are (wearing face masks, staying home often, etc).
  • The people you invite in should have a low risk of health complications if they were to contract the coronavirus.
  • They should live in the same area as you.
  • You should be able to trust them fully and their judgment during risky situations. 

Assess Your Level of Risk

The Texas Medical Association has released a chart of common daily activities and their coronavirus risk levels. When planning your activities, referencing this high vs. low-risk chart is a great way to assess where your ideal event planning ideas will land you. With that being said, if you want to take a natural camping trip instead of traveling by plane to go check out one of a kind amusement parks, you will be much safer. In the end, it is entirely up to you and your pod to discuss and weigh the options of how risky you want to be. Just be aware of your level of risk, assess it, and decide if you want to roll with it or not. 

Event Planning

When planning your event, keeping organized is key as you won’t just be handling your event basics such as collecting RSVPs and payments. You’ll also need an easy way to communicate your COVID-19 emergency plans, destination regulations, and everything in between. Plus, all of these items whether standard planning fare or part of the new normal must be done in a way that keeps your pod safe. Mitigating your pre-event risk levels and making managing your event much simpler is easily achieved by using an online platform such as GroupTools to create, manage, and share your event.

Preparedness

While using GroupTools to plan mitigates pre-event risk with contactless event management, you need to be mindful of communicating precautions to your pod for the event itself. No matter what event activities you’re planning, make sure you’re taking the right precautions to avoid increasing risk levels:

  • Do not go if you or anyone in your pod feels sick.
  • Check on face mask regulations. 
  • Wash your hands often and carry hand sanitizer with you.
  • Encourage social distancing, such as planning outdoor activities more frequently, arranging tables/chairs 6ft apart, and avoiding hugging. 
  • Don't share food or towels.
  • Wear a face mask.
  • Limit how often you touch surfaces.

The Guidelines

With all the basics handled, it’s time to turn your attention to the best practices to enact for your event’s specific activities. Below you’ll find the important safety tips from the CDC guidelines for common event features.

Transportation

Are you going on a long trip taking a personal car, bus, train, or maybe even a plane to stay overnight somewhere? As exciting as that is, as an event planner during the pandemic, here are vital things to note. 

Personal Vehicle 

While using personal vehicles is the lowest risk transportation option for your pod, there are still best practices to keep in mind for this kind of group trip.

  • If using your car, make sure to wash your hands before you start driving. 
  • You and your passengers should sanitize your hands every time you stop. 
  • Clean and disinfect your steering wheel and seats each time you stop.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue
  • Bring plenty of hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol or more. 
  • Open the windows or turn on the air ventilation.
Public Transportation
  • Check with your local transit to get the most updated information on any changes to their services or preventative procedures. 
  • Travel during non-peak hours where there will be fewer people around. 
  • If you can, enter and exit buses through the rear entry doors.
  • Avoid touching surfaces.
  • Wear a face mask.
  • Be sure to use a hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol or more throughout your journey and once you’re off - sanitize again.

Fun fact: germs do not easily spread on airplanes due to the constant air circulation, but you should still social distance and advocate for seats away from others whenever possible.

Lodging

Most hotels have taken extensive precautions when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting, but it is still wise as an event planner to call them and get the full picture of their new processes to determine your risk. With that being said, if you find that you are on board with their prevention practices, and opt to book, here is what you can do to stay safe and comply with their new regulations:

  • Use online check-in and mobile room key options if available to reduce contact. 
  • Wear a face mask in all lobby/open areas. 
  • Avoid surface touching as much as possible.
  • If you can, consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Maintain at least 6ft of distance from others outside your pod.

Parks and Recreational Facilities

  • Check with the park or facilities on their COVID-19 regulations.
  • See if they have online check-in and out services.
  • Ask if their restroom services are open.
  • Maintain at least 6ft of distance from others outside your pod. 
  • Wear a mask for the entire duration of your visit.

Restaurants

  • Check with the restaurant on their COVID-19 regulations.
  • Wear a mask in accordance with their policies. (some allow you to take them off the moment you get in a booth whereas others may make you wear it until your food comes)
  • Maintain at least 6ft of distance from others outside your pod.
  • Limit the sharing of serving utensils.
  • Wash your hands before and after you leave. 
  • Do not share napkins or food. 

Beaches and Pools

  • Check the beach or pool regulations before going (or see if they are open in general).
  • Maintain at 6ft away from others outside your pod (on land and in the water).
  • Wear your face mask when not in the water.
  • When not wearing a mask, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol frequently.  

#GroupForward

The coronavirus certainly threw everyone off their wanderlust game, both internationally and locally. Months of social distancing have left millions of Americans craving to get back out. #GroupForward and optimize your safety at the same time. Whether you are planning a lovely time at a park or going out to a restaurant, implement these best practices to make the most out of your pandemic travel. Leverage the power of proper group structuring, take into consideration the precautionary measures for where you are going, and in the end, soak up the fantastic, lasting memories. 

However you choose to #GroupForward, GroupTools is here to help you do it safely and make your planning stress-free. Visit GroupTools.com to learn more or jump right into your planning by registering or logging in today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *