How to Manage Social Distancing at Future Events

Author: Convene Editors       

social distancing

What would a ‘responsible social-distancing room setup’ look like? Members of PCMA’s Catalyst community weigh in on the question.

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.

Social Distancing in Room Setups

Ed Leonardo, CMP, director, meetings department for the Transportation Research Board, recently asked the PCMA Catalyst community if they had considered incorporating social distancing into room setups at events. “I’m just trying to visualize what a responsible social-distancing room setup would look like,” he wrote.


Our team is discussing this for future events. For our table top exhibit, we plan to keep tables six feet apart and create 12-foot aisles. We’ve also considered putting tape down on the carpet to indicate how far apart those standing in a queue should be from each other. … It’s tough, because sets like these reduce the number of people who can be in the space. I’d love to hear more ideas from others, as well.

— Kelsey Schmidt, senior manager, event planning, Law School Admission Council


We are brainstorming these ideas as well as we remain optimistic for our fall event — particularly in educational session rooms which for us are typically set nearly all in theater. I think social-distancing-appropriate room sets will vary greatly on when your event is. An event taking place in June or July likely will need to follow sets similar to Kelsey’s idea of the above. We are hopeful that by fall (October), we will be able to set small groups of chairs near one another while still providing plenty of opportunities for social distancing. One idea we have kicked around are columns of two chairs each with six-foot aisles in between, while also increasing distance between chair rows — effectively theater set with increased number of aisles. This is presuming that by October individuals may feel comfortable sitting close to one of their known colleagues or friends, yet weary of sitting too close to an “unknown” risk.

— Jennifer Stewart, conference program manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police


What Events Professionals Need to Know About COVID-19

PCMA has created a COVID-19 web page to help event professionals find reliable information about the outbreak and to share events industry-related resources to ensure they are prepared.”

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