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Complexities of Keeping International Events Safe During COVID-19

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Events of all varieties are back in full swing this spring after a long hiatus during COVID-19 – from corporate retreats and business conferences, to concerts and large-scale trade shows. But the event managers and producers in charge of running these events face a litany of new and unique challenges for pulling off a successful event.

CLEARED4 has been helping event managers from businesses large and small to navigate this new landscape – including supporting the American Cancer Society, AFLAC, and Live Nation in safely returning to concerts, festivals, private events and conferences.

We recently executed COVID-19 vaccine validations that helped 20,000+ attendees from over 90 different countries meet local regulations – minimizing the risks of creating a COVID-19 outbreak at the International Housewares Association Inspired Home Show, held at Chicago’s McCormick Place in early March.

Adding Safety to the New Run of Show

The Inspired Home Show (IHS) is a case in point illustrating the complexities in managing large events in the age of COVID-19, especially international ones. For example, in order to ensure attendees’ safety, event managers added to their typical run of show questions like:

  • How will I validate vaccines from a range of international locations?

  • How will I turn around the validations quickly to grant timely entrance to the show?

  • How will I deliver access passes to attendees, once vaccines are validated?

  • What’s my backup plan if something goes wrong – tech issues, for example, in the process with vaccine validation on-site?

  • What is our staff’s liability of vaccine attestation and validation?

To be sure, at a minimum, event managers will need to:

  1. Protect the event from the uncertainty of COVID-19 waves. Establish COVID-19 protocols that can be managed through a health-verification platform as an ‘insurance policy’ for safely executing your event.

  2. Communicate to Attendees early and often. Attendees need to know that there are processes in place to ensure their health and safety. By outlining protocols, attendees will also understand what is expected of them, like what information they will need to provide in advance and on-site.

  3. Offer dynamic options for real-time safe access to your event. You’ll need a platform that offers comprehensive, privacy-compliant COVID-19 management, and possibly that can serve international clientele over multiple days for an event. Attendees want the flexibility to meet COVID-19 protocol requirements for safe entry. For example, someone may prefer to be tested on-site prior to entry vs. uploading their vaccination proof. You’ll need to consider the platform features: - Health questionnaire to be used for the day of entry - Global vaccination verification - Testing management (e.g., testing on-site, remote video-proctored) - Real-time integration with ticketing for entry or access - Ongoing communication with attendees

4. Ensure a fast and easy user experience. Frictionless access with an intuitive interface drives adoption and ensures event success and attendee satisfaction.

What Success Looks Like

CLEARED4 and its partners helped the IHA event managers address these needs for the international event:

  • Vaccine Verification: To ensure instant health verification for accurate reporting and the safety of all attendees and staff, CLEARED4 set up a real-time vaccination verification data flow with its event-registration system, CompuSystems (CSI), to grant or deny badges to event registrants – with a 24-hour approval response.

  • Access Passes: We worked with IHA and CSI to provide real-time Access Pass status to all attendees based upon his / her domestic and international vaccine proof – with specific requirements seamlessly configured for attendees’ badges.

  • Dashboard: We provided the management dashboard, the user interface for proof of vaccination, and approval of vaccination proof.

  • Communication with Attendees: Provided messaging to all attendees, providing important vaccine verification information and time-sensitive requirements to allow IHA attendees to safely and securely access the event.

  • Monitor Heath-Status Changes: CSI used the CLEARED4 API to constantly poll for health-pass status changes among users. For example, when a user is granted a BluePass for being fully vaccinated (allowing him/ her to receive a badge from CSI), or when a user loses a pass, and must in turn undergo the COVID-19 testing protocol to attend the event.

  • Onsite Training: CLEARED4’s partner World Back to Work provided an onsite health requirements desk and training and supervising entry personnel

Of the 20,000+ show attendees and exhibitors CLEARED4 and its partners cleared for the IHS event:

  • 18,400 (92%) were pre-registered in advance into CLEARED4

  • 8,400 (46%) pre-registered attendees supplied proof of vaccination in advance of the show - this includes the exhibitors

  • 11,600 (58%) of the total attendees were cleared onsite by trained entrance security personnel who visually checked vaccination credentials or COVID-19 negative test result (testing was offered onsite for those who needed it)

Complexities You Probably Haven’t Thought About Yet

Beyond setting up the vaccination verification flow, CLEARED4 brought additional support to the IHS event managers to address the minutia of managing safety – complexities they may not have had to think about in the past.

CLEARED4 delivered the following services and support:

  • Automation for validating international vaccines from 20+ countries (we have capability for 100+ countries)

  • List of attendees and their home countries

  • Configuration for IHS branding

  • Spreadsheet of artifacts and message templates for communicating with attendees

  • Design business rules on accepting risk parameters for attendees to register

  • API integration of initial registration

  • Learning courses to event staff, to identify red flags and exceptions

  • Timing schedule for attendee reminder messages

  • Turnaround time for approval of vaccine documentation

  • Real-Time Validation and/or 24-hour approval

  • Outsourced services to ease the burden

  • Outsourcing of onsite testing and access

  • Compliance with national and local regulations

  • Local health and capacity regulations

  • Delivery of Badges and Access passes

  • Onsite triage support

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