Exploring Capacity Limits for In-Person Events

Author: Convene Editors       

capacity limit for indoor events

Do capacity limits for indoor meetings include event staff? A handful of event professionals recently shared their knowledge on PCMA’s Catalyst forum.

PCMA’s Catalyst community offers members a platform to ask each other questions, share ideas, or, as the website says, “communicate and collaborate.” Here’s a sampling from a recent Catalyst discussion.

“For in-person events with a specific capacity number, does the capacity include the company’s event staff working the event?” Samantha McKenney, associate director of conferences and events for the Cato Institute, wrote on the PCMA Catalyst forum. “If the capacity is 50 people, can you have 50 attendees seated for dinner plus your event staff (this does not include venue staff) that is not seated, instead walking around space working event, or is the 50 everyone in the room whether you are seated or not?”

I just read this below in the Nevada state guidelines. It may be universal, but I suggest you check the state guidelines for your gathering:

“Event staff: For the purposes of determining occupant capacity based on Directive 033 and this guidance, event staff and event hosts will NOT be counted toward gathering capacity limits. The number of workers at a venue does not need to be included when considering occupant capacity for the purposes of this guidance. Staff are required to ensure the successful implementation of these guidelines and the safety of participants. Therefore, staff do not contribute to the capacity limit. All staff must adhere to all social distancing measures and guidance outlined in this document and any other guidance document specific to their employment.”

— Sherry Hunt, Director, Travel, Applied Systems Inc.

The COVID-19 event capacity question is all driven by the local government. Here in D.C., we just experienced internal confusion as to if a hotel is considered a restaurant or a special events venue, and the guideline changes [depending on the answer]. There is no one-size-fits-all. You would really need to work with your venue and the local government to understand the exact guideline. This is also one of the topics PCMA Capital Chapter Government and Relations committee is working on to bring attention to the CDC and the federal government that we need better general guidelines. At this time, I would work with your local jurisdiction and the venue to ensure you are fully covered.

— Sandy Yi-Davis, Head of Event Design, Strategic Meeting International

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