Despite a growing number of Americans who have been vaccinated, there will still be those who are wary of attending in-person events in 2021. In our April Recovery Dashboard survey, one out of 10 planners said the most likely scenario for the recovery of business events will include the fact that people are or will be hesitant to travel to meet face-to-face.
COVID-19 testing is one option to offer in-person attendees to allay concerns. AIM Meetings and Events has teamed up with Inspire Diagnostics and Unisys Corporation to offer free, at-home COVID-19 testing kits to those planning to attend an event at a hotel, convention center, or other meeting venue.
The recovery of face-to-face meetings depends on attendees feeling safe, said AIM’s president, Walter E. Galanty, adding that he believes some form of testing “will be with us at least through 2021.”
“We are trying to provide just one option to help them feel safe,” Galanty told Convene in an email. “Who better than a meeting planner to assist with the logistics of testing?”
Because each kit is paid for either by insurance or the CARES Act, there is no out-of-pocket cost to attendees. They can order the test kits at least five days prior to the start of the meeting they plan to attend. After they order, a confirmation email is sent to the participant, and a kit is sent by two-day UPS.
The kits use Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)-authorized tests to identify both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19. Participants collect their sample via nasal swab and send the kit back in an overnight, pre-paid UPS package that is included with the kit. Results are sent back to the participant by email within 24 hours of the lab’s receipt of the test.
Meeting planners are able to order a supply of on-site, 10-minute rapid testing kits for those attendees who may have forgotten to take their test ahead of the event. There is a minimal cost for these rapid tests; AIM suggests ordering enough kits for about 10 percent of registrants.
The program includes a user app that can be used for onboarding, scheduling, ordering, and to see and store results. The U-PASS digital health passport, designed by Unisys Corporation and Inspire Health Alliance, provides non-transferable health status validation that can be used for travel and access. It includes HIPAA/CDC-compliant data management, security and personal health information protection, and privacy protection. Health metrics can be organized based on attendees or the entire group through a management interface.
The test kits also meet the testing requirements for travel to all international destinations and Hawaii.
Full results of April’s PCMA COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard survey will be posted later this week.
Curt Wagner is digital editor at Convene.