November 30, 2021
We didn’t set out to write yet another blog about fighting COVID-19, but as in-person events grow popular again, we figured we’d remind you to do your part in keeping attendees (and yourself) safe.
Here are just a few suggestions for keeping your event as safe and clean as possible — and doing it legally.
First and foremost, we suggest you set up a liability waiver for all your guests to sign before your event takes place. And lucky for you, we at The Contract Shop® have one for you right here.
A liability waiver basically tells guests that you won’t be held liable, or responsible, if someone contracts COVID-19 and becomes sick after attending. It might outline what your attendees should do if they suspect they may be sick, as well as the steps you’ll be taking to protect them at your event.
On that same note, check the contract you sign with the venue you booked to make sure it doesn’t say that you’re liable in some cases. For example, if one of their employees gets sick and spreads it to some of your guests, they should be held liable — not you.
"Wait, am I legally allowed to verify vaccination status or require negative tests? Doesn’t that violate HIPAA or something?”
Good question! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can — HIPAA applies only to “covered entities” like healthcare providers and healthcare plans. Basically, HIPAA is in place to protect the use of a patient’s health information by these entities. Most event organizers aren’t considered a covered entity.
If you decide to require vaccination proof or negative tests for your event, follow the CDC guidelines and check in with your “local, state, tribal, and territorial laws, regulations and rules.” Also, be mindful of privacy laws and standards when asking for that health info.
If your event takes place in an indoor venue, you should do what you can to promote physical distancing and prevent crowding. Space tables and chairs at least six feet apart, for example. For areas where guests have to wait in line, mark spots six feet apart on the floor. Set up barriers or ropes to promote flow of movement and lots of space.
You might also think about using online check-in, QR codes, apps, or other touchless digital tools that minimize contact between people. They’re also handy for collecting your guests’ info for contact tracing should someone contract COVID-19.
Encourage your attendees to practice good hygiene and cleanliness, too. Offer up disposable masks and hand sanitizer at the door and at different spots in your venue. Post signs that remind people to wear their masks at all times.
The CDC website has even more helpful tips for preventing the spread of COVID-19 on their website. We suggest taking a look through them to see what other precautions you can take for your event.
One last thing to check off your list before the big day? Update any prior contracts for your event. If you’re hosting a mastermind, for example, make sure that you include a clause or addendum that states you’re not responsible for any illness contracted at your in-person event.
Even though many states are easing restrictions to allow for larger public gatherings and business events, your guests will want to know that they can attend without fear of getting sick. It’s your job to do what you can to make them feel safe — but don’t forget to protect yourself and your business legally, too!