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The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide

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The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide

Edited by Steven A. Adelman

For Event Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic



The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide is a collective work by event industry professionals to help our peers who are planning to reopen during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This document contains no “best practices” that apply everywhere – coronavirus creates different challenges depending on countless factors, including the size of the event, its geographic location, the physical space, and the anticipated attendees, to name just a few. Instead, in the order one would plan an event, we have identified reasonably foreseeable health risks and suggested options to mitigate them.

Because this is intended to be used by event professionals, we have tried to strike a balance between a simple checklist and an exhaustive consideration of all options. Our goal is to provide enough information so each user can make reasonable choices under their own circumstances.

Some of this guidance is scalable, meaning it can be applied equally to events of any size. Where we had to choose, we focused on the circumstances of smaller, local events that we anticipate will reopen first. Consequently, this Reopening Guide emphasizes things people can do rather than things they can buy, since money is likely to be especially tight for smaller events and venues that have been closed and may only partially reopen. Our intention is to follow this initial release with guidance more applicable to tours and larger events, which face additional challenges that will keep them closed longer.

In the text, people are referred to as either “patrons” or “workers.” A patron is anyone who pays or presents a credential to attend an event – they can be required to follow health and safety procedures as a condition of entry and attendance. A worker is a paid professional or volunteer providing services – they can be required by their supervisor to follow health and safety procedures as a condition of work.

There is no guarantee of an illness-free event even if you follow everything in thisReopening Guide. It is indisputable, however, that planning, training, and implementing reasonable health and safety measures are the best ways to protect live events and the people who create them, while also inspiring patrons to return to the places where we make magic happen.

As municipal officials begin to allow small groups of people to gather in public even while the fight against COVID-19 continues, there is a tremendous need for guidance how small events and venues can reopen as safely as possible under these incredibly challenging circumstances.  In response, the Event Safety Alliance today released The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide.  

ESA Reopening Guide.png

The Reopening Guide addresses health and sanitary issues that event and venue professionals need to consider in order to protect both patrons and workers.  Since there is still insufficient testing, no contact tracing, and no vaccine against COVID-19, this guidance is particularly detailed.  The first edition is tailored to be especially useful for event professionals reopening the smallest events with the fewest resources available to mitigate their risks, since in every municipal reopening plan these will be allowed to reopen first.   ESA Podcast #17 – Event Safety Alliance Reopening GuideEvent Safety Alliance 


“As a matter of common law, everyone has a duty to behave reasonably under their own circumstances.  Consequently, there is no such thing as ‘best’ practices.  There are only practices that are reasonable for this venue, this event, this crowd, this time and place, during this pandemic.  Because few operational bright lines would make sense, The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide is designed to help event professionals think through their own circumstances.  In the order than one plans an event, the Reopening Guide looks closely at the health and safety risks involved in reopening public spaces, then proposes risk mitigation measures that are likely to be reasonable under the circumstances of the smaller events and venues that will reopen first.”    

Note: Submitting this form will add you to the ESA’s email distribution list. Your contact information will be used exclusively for the distribution of safety-related information and guidance, and will not be sold or provided to third parties for any purpose without your direct permission.

The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide is the product of contributions from more than 300 professionals from all facets of the live event industry, from the smallest to largest producers and the many businesses that work to support them.   As it says on the cover, “Please share this Guide – We all want to reopen safely.” 

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