Read the full reopening guidelines for events and festivals

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Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the majority of the world has gone into some sort of lockdown or self-isolation with businesses and entire industries being irrevocably affected. The event and tourism industry, in particular, has taken a major hit across the globe with many events cancelling their dates to abide by regulations.

Now, as the country moves onto “advanced” level 3 lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that restaurants, cinemas and tourism accommodation may return to business. While major events and gatherings will still be prohibited during this phase of lockdown, The Event Safety Council (ESC) released a number of new guidelines for event organisers to follow and implement in coming months.

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The 68-page document aims to prepare organisers for arranging events to the best of their ability in the near future by implementing the new regulations outlined and becoming compliant in adopting stringent safety protocol as the world moves into a new kind of normal.

ESC recommends the following COVID-19 prevention guidelines that all organisers must adopt:

  • Risk assessment based on the hazard COVID-19 poses
  • Provide an understanding of the different types of exposure risk along the event chain
  • Who may be exposed and how this exposure could happen
  • Outlining plans for high-risk individuals
  • Hierarchy of controls required in line with the Department of Employment and Labour (DoEL) and Department of Health (DOH) requirements for COVID-19
  • Providing key control measures based on national legislation and global best practices
  • Information and communication strategy
  • Training and awareness protocols
  • Staff management protocols
  • Attendee management protocols
  • Cleaning and hygiene protocols
  • Venue management protocols
  • Safe operating procedures and practices around issues such as load-in and load-out, transport, food service, waste, etc.
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Stakeholder & role-player engagement
  • Provide health and safety documentation included in the event safety plan (section 4, SASREA) with respect to COVID-19 preventative measures for the event.

The proposed risk assessment protocol include:

An event organiser is required to carry out a risk assessment outlining the hazards and associated risks to COVID-19 will have at an event. The risk assessment must cover the people that may be exposed and infected and how this exposure may happen. Included in the assessment is the control measures that must be implemented to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on staff, workers, and attendees of the event.

Guidelines recommend that before an event is approved or is presented to the appropriate authorities, that a risk assessment is drawn up detailing the risk profile specific to the event based on:

1 – Very low-risk exposure events: When an event has a low or minimal chance of transmitting the COVID-19 virus and basic principles applied to minimise exposure.

2 – Low-risk exposure events: When an event has limited exposure and unlikely to expose attendees to risk and can be easily controlled with adequate and approved planning processes in place as part of the Event Safety Plan.

3 – Moderate risk exposure events: When there is more than likely the probability of exposure to COVID-19 virus at the event, detailed plans and processes are needed to minimise and manage the exposure risk. These detailed COVID-19 plans should be planned with all role-players making up the event safety and security planning committee (ESSPC) in approving the health protocols for the event.

4 – High-risk exposure events: When there is a greater potential of exposure and detailed and rigorous planning is needed in order to host the event. Planning with the ESSPC role-players is critical in determining the risks and the measures needed to mitigate these risks and outlining the roles and responsibilities in curbing potential spread.

5 – Very high-risk exposure events: When the likelihood of transmission to many people is probable and requires careful consideration and planning by all role-players making up the ESSPC in determining the required measures needed in protecting those working or attending the event. Full approvals processes will need to be in place managing health concerns before the event can go ahead.

Event organisers will be required to implement communication and contact tracing. All event organiser must familiarise themselves with the 68-page document of guidelines before attending or arranging an event post-COVID-19. Read the full document, right here.


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