All across the country, we are beginning to see restaurants and bars open up again. They are operating with new rules like mask requirements, outdoor dining, and other safety measures. Venue owners and live event organizers have also been plotting their comeback. The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide has quickly become the industry standard for how events and venues should approach reopening. It largely speaks for itself. Michael was interested in answering the question: “Okay I’ve read the guide, now what?!” for event professionals. He also wanted to find out about liability risks for events and venues associated with reopening in the midst of Covid-19 recovery. (Note: If you haven’t read the guide yet, download the full copy here.)
To answer these questions, Event Hub CEO Micheal Bleau, interviewed the guide’s author, Steve Adelman of Adelman Sports and Entertainment Law Firm and Vice President of the non-profit Event Safety Alliance.
In the latest Live Event Podcast episode below, the two discuss what the guide is and how it can be implemented in a real-world production sense. Listen below:
Background: Why the Reopening Guide is Important
The guide came about when The Event Safety Alliance realized that governors were going to start to issue reopen orders. However, those orders would just give clearance to open but not have specific guidance on how to achieve it safely. This led them to an open call for submissions to create a guide for venue owners and event organizers. The initial call garnered over 300 contributors from every facet and aspect of the live event industry.
The first edition of the Guide is written intentionally pitched to smaller events, organizers, and vendors. They will be first to take a crack at reopening. Steve and the other creators of the guide thought it especially important to direct the guide at them since they will be the first. If they do a bad job then it’s going to close states back down and push when larger events can reopen further into the future. They wanted to get as in front of this as possible so that places didn’t try to reopen with no guidance whatsoever.
Highlight 1: The Importance of Educating Patrons
The two begin by focusing on the important of patron messaging. The guide helps events to navigate from an operational standpoint. It gives a series of options to consider. The other side of that coin is that there is a lot of things we don’t control. One of those is patron conduct. You can do everything that’s in the reopening guide. However, once you open your doors you can’t control who walks in. You can’t control if they are careless about their personal hygiene or are asymptomatic. This is why patron communication is key. Steve emphasizes the importance in strength of patron messaging on safety guidelines.
Highlight 2: Legal Standard vs Best Practices
At the beginning of the podcast, Michael and Steve mention how Steve’s background as an attorney benefited the guide. As a sports and entertainment lawyer, he is able to view reopening through a risk assessment lens as well as being a major event proponent. Michael circles back to this for an easy-to-digest boot camp in tort law.
The legal perspective is essential for the reopening guide making sense. One of the things that readers will find early on is it explains the distinction between a common wrong term, best practices vs what the actual legal obligation is for people who are thinking about reopening during this pandemic. Steve explains that their duty is not to engage in the single best practice. This is a diverse industry and there is no best practice for most things.
“There usually are not best practices but rather reasonable practices under the particular circumstances of any person, event, or event space.” -Steve Adelman
The reopening guide is written to meet the legal standard. This means that everyone has the legal duty to behave as a reasonable person under their circumstance. That is liberating for small venues to not have to keep up with what the big stadiums will have to implement down the line. Steve emphasizes that your duty of care is scaled to your resources. It’s based on your situation, location, and demographics. All of these factors matter. So they wrote the reopening guide to meet the actual legal standard that truly exists rather than writing about hypothetical best case scenarios.
Listen to learn more about how your venue or event can enforce safety restrictions and implement other strategies learned in the guide, and the first steps to take after reading it, directly from its author.