Many planners are determined to safely bring back live events—and on-site rapid testing for COVID-19 just may be the key. (Perhaps even the modernized entry fee.) As the event industry paves the way to this "new normal" type of planning, here is a little road-side assistance. Here, we've rounded up a list of on-site testing resources to keep in mind as live events slowly return.
But first, we caught up with event-industry professionals versed in pandemic prevention to help understand the why. "Because of the severity of COVID-19, there is an influx of data flooding social networks on a daily basis," says Katherine McCommon, vice president of regional operations for EventScan. "There is a misconception that rapid tests are inaccurate. The biggest challenge is the quality of rapid tests currently on the market." On the bright side, as our country's health professionals learn more about the coronavirus, more accurate, real-time testing resources are on the rise.
Founder and CEO of Choura Events Ryan Choura, who doubles as the president of We Are Lifeline Health, speaks of an upcoming event where the preventative health test and screening company will assist. "Three-hundred people fly across the nation; the customer wants everyone to be tested. Well, when do you test? When they take off? Land? Do you test them at the airport?" he asks. "We work through all those variables, and we say, 'This is the best set of protocols, based on what you're projecting, to implement.'"
Choura adds that wearing a mask and standing six feet apart is not enough—that we must evolve to ensure safety. "I work on over 4,000 events a year; people weren’t gathering safely," he says about the industry pre-pandemic. "COVID-19 exposed something. Our interest is to come along to events and say, 'Let's relook at this.'"
According to McCommon, reliable rapid testing is the only solution for ensuring a safe event atmosphere, especially since the virus is suggested to be transmitted even by asymptomatic people. So, two major questions have come up for nearly every event professional across the industry: Should we plan something, and can we do it safely? Choura says the answer is yes—that it can be done safely with the help of experts.
1. We Are Lifeline Health
We Are Lifeline Health works with the Covid Clinic to provide on-site rapid testing in California. Lifeline Health’s mobile testing services are administered by medical professionals in a mobile testing unit outside an event. Each of the five different testing options includes Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. Preregistration and test-release waivers are administered as well to ensure the delivery of results. Additionally, services include assigned health officers to help answer questions and assist with project setup, contract, and logistics.
Operating under parent company ILD, EventScan boasts over 13 years of experience in event safety and production, working closely with security firms and government buildings. Now, the event safety provider is the first event company in the U.S. to offer COVID-19 rapid testing and government-grade thermal scanning products for live events. EventScan's multitude of testing and prevention options, including PCR testing, are available in cities around the country, with low-cost testing solutions for event vendors and their employees due to high-exposure job nature. Attendees are provided with test results in PDF format, which can be used for many purposes, including travel. Up next: Planners can look forward to EventScan's app launch.
3. Fern Health Check
Fern Exhibitions and Event Services is now offering Fern Health Check, which provides customizable testing and screening assessments for trade shows and live events across the United States. Specific FDA-authorized options include at-home kits for pre-event and post-event use, as well as on-site rapid testing administered by licensed health professionals. Additionally, Fern's services include a self-assessment portal that allows individual control of health data through a HIPAA-compliant platform. Information can be grouped based on attendees, staff, and vendors, to name a few.
4. Live Better Solutions
Live Better Solutions came to the surface specifically to provide COVID-19 testing, screening, and consulting. Staying up to date on the newest testing technology, the company currently offers three kinds of screenings, including antibody tests, primarily in Tennessee area, with national travel upon request.
BeCore, an experiential marketing agency out of Los Angeles, recently launched a new initiative, SafeSpace, to develop protocols for productions during the COVID era. Additional services include multitiered event analysis, site consultation, securing safe infrastructure, and educated staff to manage the site. The SafeSpace network is comprised of environmental infection control consultants, certified industrial hygienists, certified safety professionals, and event marketing professionals who work together to establish a safe and successful event.
6. Alliance Nationwide Exposition
Alliance Nationwide Exposition, a full-service hotel show planning and production company, has launched an on-site testing service available throughout the U.S. as part of its Together Again program. Tests are provided by Global7 Diagnostic Laboratories and take 10 minutes to be administered prior to entering an event venue. Results are also returned within 10 minutes. Attendees who have tested negative then get a badge to enter the event venue.
7. Covid Clinic
The Covid Clinic offers expedited rapid testing for national and international travel purposes, with 21 total testing sites across California and Arizona offering a variety of testing options, including antibody testing. All of the clinic's tests are performed by CLIA-certified labs and have received an EUA from the FDA.
This story ran on our sister site BizBash, here.