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Venue reopening: key insights from New Zealand & Australian industry leaders

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Australia and New Zealand have been leading the way in “best practices” on how to contain and eliminate the spread of the virus. One week after New Zealand lifted all coronavirus restrictions as they moved to Alert Level 1, venue leaders from the region discussed initiatives implemented as part of their return to normal and what their events agenda is starting to look like.

Irene James from H3 Group, Louise Gardiner from Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA), and David Milne from City of Whitehorse took part in a regional Industry Summit where they shared feedback on their different experiences. Here are some highlights from the event that should benefit every venue working on their reopening strategy:

1. Set up sanitization stations

In order to ensure the safety of their patrons, one of the measures implemented by H3 has been to set up sanitization stations across the venue to encourage people to clean their hands and limit the spread of germs within the venue.

2. Contact tracing

Contact tracing is a key element of focus for venues within the country. In order to facilitate this operation, RFA and H3 both set up COVID-19 tracer app QR code posters, as directed by the Ministry of Health, at key entrance and exit points as well as highly frequented areas to allow people to record their location and keep track of their attendance to the event. The information would allow key stakeholders to rapidly and easily identify people who might have been in contact with someone affected, should a new case be reported at an event.

3. Venue cleaning

All panellists agreed that one of the most expensive, but essential measures, they had to implement as part of their reopening, has been the additional cleaning of the venue before, during, and after each event. Each venue needs to physically demonstrate that there is a rigorous cleaning and disinfecting process in place throughout their venue focusing on the sanitization of high touch points.

4. Good hygiene best practices

It is imperative that venues are at the forefront of providing leadership and guidance on good hygiene best practices. From as simple as hanging posters that emphasis the consistent need to wash your hands, to providing appropriate protective gear to staff so both attendees and staff have a sense of feeling safe.

While venues are expected to provide a higher level of vigilance when it comes to cleaning and visitor tracking, in the end it is the responsibility of each individual to take extra care, maintain good hygiene and be mindful of how our personal state of health can impact others.

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