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Safety group stresses need for electronic tickets post-COVID-19

Event Safety Alliance (ESA) has highlighted the benefits of electronic ticketing at post-COVID-19 events in a comprehensive guide for event professionals planning to reopen following the shutdown.

The Reopening Guide, released by the US non-profit organisation promoting safety throughout the event domain, addresses health and hygiene issues.

The guide advises that ticketed events implement self-service kiosks outside a health and security screening area, and also underlines the benefits of electronic tickets for reducing disease transmission.

The group notes that the guidance is particularly detailed since there is still insufficient testing, no contact tracing, and no vaccine against COVID-19. The first edition is tailored to be especially useful for event professionals reopening the smallest events with the fewest resources available to mitigate their risks, since in every municipal reopening plan these will be allowed to reopen first.

Steven A. Adelman, ESA vice president, said: “There is no guarantee of an illness-free event even if you follow everything in this Reopening Guide. It is indisputable, however, that planning, training, and implementing reasonable health and safety measures are the best ways to protect live events and the people who create them, while also inspiring patrons to return to the places where we make magic happen.”

Adelman adds that there is no such thing a “best practices,” but instead individual measures that are reasonable for each venue, event, crowd or time.

More than 300 event professionals, academics and public officials contributed to the guidelines, including George Perley (AEG Presents Southeast), Nicole Hobby (Ticketmaster), Brad Spies (SXSW), Sara Grauf (San Francisco Giants), and Troy Willrick (Daytona International Speedway).

ESA suggests organisers enable “virtual” ingress queueing to allow patrons to select and book an arrival time in advance to mitigate crowds for wanding, bag check and ticket scanning. The document also encourages venues with car parks to “kill spaces between vehicles.”

Whilst queueing, the guide said a distance of 36 square feet between every unrelated group should be instituted, adding that venues in dense urban areas may need to coordinate with neighbouring properties to accommodate these longer lines.

The guide also recommends that a worker wearing proper face covering, gloves and medically identifiable clothing make their way down the queue, taking temperatures and conducting brief visual screenings of every guest.

The document also goes into details of the importance of “patron education,” and explains how event attendees will need to understand the “we’re all in this together” mentality demanded by the nature of COVID-19.

It also highlights the need for worker hygiene, which includes social distancing, hand washing, and face coverings.

ESA advises venues to hire “infection mitigation coordinators” to act as point people for new measures, including temperature screening at every point of venue entry.

The non-profit also details how venues should respond to cases of symptomatic workers, including a suggestion for event professionals to offer employees paid sick leave.