Staying informed is key to navigating the latest COVID complication

As the summer began, positivity was on the horizon.  The unemployment rate was falling, travel was resuming, and economic growth was returning to pre-pandemic levels.  And in perhaps the most promising sign of normalcy, people were gathering in person, in large groups, without masks, social distancing, or any other requirements.

But in recent weeks, the Delta variant has ignited a spike in cases, leading to new CDC guidance for the vaccinated and sparking new debates about how to keep the public safe.

All of this raises some important questions.  What’s the best way to approach events in the face of Delta and any future variants?  How should we balance mixed crowds of vaccinated or unvaccinated people?  Does this mean a return to virtual-only events?

There are a few things to consider.

Check local regulations

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve all had to navigate a patchwork of ever-changing rules.  Some states and cities are reinstating mask mandates.  Others have laws prohibiting any such orders.  The most important thing to do regarding any event is to get up to date on what’s happening in the event location, and then check the latest CDC guidance.

Know the risks

Whether you’re an event planner or an attendee, know what you’re up against by hosting and/or attending an event.  Consider the rate of transmission in the event area and make an informed decision about whether it’s safe to hold or attend in-person events.

Be flexible

We’re starting to see cancellations for many late-summer and fall events, out of extreme caution regarding the Delta variant.  Be prepared to host a hybrid event or go completely virtual.  There are many unknowns at this moment, and there’s no definitive answer about whether events will be allowed or not.  Like so much of the pandemic, the situation is touch-and-go.

As concern over the Delta variant rises, the best thing we can all do – event planners and attendees – is stay in the know.  Though this reversed fortune is bittersweet, we must prioritize health and safety.  If we do so, we’ll eventually reach a moment where in-person events are back and back for good.