Keeping our guests and teams safe has always been a priority for event managers and caterers. The last three months has shown how important this part of our job is.
While we may be experts at managing food safety, alcohol and physical hazards, it’s fair to say epidemiology didn’t feature in many Health and Safety plans before March 2020! Suddenly we needed to learn about viral spread and contagion and understand rapidly evolving advice and regulations while creating and documenting covid-specific processes and policies, implementing these and communicating them with staff, clients and vendor partners. All while managing postponements, cancellations, guest count changes and travel restrictions.
Thankfully, the worst is behind us and in level one restrictions have been relaxed or lifted. Now our responsibility is playing our part to make sure NZ doesn’t take a single step backwards in the fight against covid-19. Here are some things we’ve learned and how we’ll be managing events responsibly to keep everyone safe.
- Guest and event safety is the shared responsibility of vendors, venues, clients and the guests themselves
- There will often be a spectrum of opinions on the level of risk among clients, guests and staff
Before events we will
- Provide clients with our on-event covid policy and a one pager to pass onto guests listing etiquette for safe events
- Ask if any guests have tested positive for covid-19 at any time, have arrived from overseas within 14 days of the event, have any cold, flu or covid-19 symptoms or should be self-isolating for any reason at the time of the event . If yes, we’ll ask for more details and reserve the right to ask these guests not to attend.
- Train and brief our staff on our processes, including frequent hand-washing
- Ensure any sick staff stay at home
- Speak with the venue and other suppliers to make sure we’re supporting their policies and they’re aware of ours
- Commit to the NZ Events Sector Voluntary Code
At events we will
- Ensure the venue displays contact tracing QR codes
- Sanitise surfaces such as bar tops, door handles etc
- Make hand sanitiser freely available
- Have more bins available so guests can easily dispose of used napkins or tissues
At events we ask that guests
- Don’t share glasses or cutlery
- Don’t make physical contact with staff or speak too closely into their face
- Don’t replace any food onto platters, shared plates or food stations
- Sneeze and cough into a tissue, or into their elbow and away from people
- Stay out of the kitchen area
For our delivered catering we have
- Updated our dispatch process to include no food handling other than by chefs and increased frequency of cleaning & sterilisation of dispatch area during shifts
- Created new process for drivers including start and end of day process of sterilising vehicle steering wheels, shift levers and door handles
- Started pre-bagging and sealing cutlery and napkins in paper bags
- One driver allocated to a vehicle per day
Some of these actions might change as the situation in NZ changes and we’ll always listen to our clients and be ready to do more if necessary to meet their health and safety policies or just to provide peace of mind so they can enjoy their wedding or event without thinking about covid for a few hours!