In a long list of operational practices event participants say makes them most confident that the organizations hosting events are adequately looking after their health, the requirement that participants wear face masks is at the top.
Nearly 40 percent of respondents ranked mask requirements as the most important operational practice related to safety in a survey by Destination Analysts released Tuesday at Destinations International 2020 Virtual Conference. Enforced social distancing, enhanced sanitation and cleaning, and event venues where the number of people allowed was reduced by 50 percent also were high on the list.
Although venue and host protocols were important, only slightly more than half — 54 percent — said that they would trust other meeting attendees to “conduct themselves appropriately” in protecting others from exposure to COVID-19 virus. Of those, only 15 percent trusted others a “great deal,” while 46 percent trusted others “very little” or “not at all.” Event organizers themselves were ranked as more trustworthy, although only 65 percent of respondents said they trusted host organizations to look out for them.
The survey coincided with statements supporting mask-wearing made by Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), who spoke on Tuesday to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Masks, Redfield told the journal, are among “the most powerful weapon we have.” If, he added, “we can get everybody to wear a mask right now, I think over the next four to six, eight weeks, we can bring this epidemic under control.” Redfield co-authored research published July 14 that showed that the number of adults who said they were following the recommendation to wear masks rose from 62 percent in April to more than 76 percent in May. Face-mask approval in the Midwest, rose from 44 percent to 74 percent during that period. Face-mask approval was greatest in the Northeast, going from 77 percent to 87 percent.
Other operational practices that event participants in the Destination Analysts survey ranked as important in addition to requiring masks included:
- Cleaning between every meeting/session
- Spaced seating for social distancing (minimum 6 feet)
- Providing hand sanitizer
- Temperature checks for attendees
- Required PPE use for all event staff
- Meetings/events held outdoors as much as possible
The survey, which includes responses from meeting planners, can be found at destinationanalysts.com/2020meetings.