On Thursday night last week, Mesh arranged a socially distanced event for 30 clients to view some news from L&L in a park in SE1.
It was a testing decision making process; in August it had felt like a straightforward concept, the slightly increased number of cases could be derived from the increased number of tests and there was encouragement from government to go back to the office and eat out.
We conducted a poll amongst our clients; how would they feel about an event of 30 people, outside in a garden, with lots of space and 7 displays of new products from Luce & Light in a marked out 2×2 m spaces with hand sanitiser?
75% came back positive, 25% said they were not ready for it. Interestingly no one chose the third alternative which was “not interested”.
We decided to go ahead, after all – it was totally voluntary to participate and we would cap it at 30 people, all according to government guidelines. We also carried out a comprehensive risk assessment for Bankside Open Spaces Trust.
Then the week before the event the rule of 6 was imposed. This appeared to apply to social events only, not work or education. Ours was a work event.
A call to the Metropolitan Police was discouraging; “haven’t you read the news mate? NO gatherings over 6”
We then contacted Bankside Open Spaces who were renting the park to us. They were convinced our event did not have to adhere to the rule of 6.
They offered to contact the Met Police in Southwark, who they work with for all their events.
Days passed and we were 2 days before the event when an email came through from the Police (direct quote) “I see no problem with the event and the new Covid-19 regulations, it’s sounds like it’s going to be well run!”
We could relax a bit.
When it came to the practical details, we wanted to make sure everyone was absolutely safe, it was after all our best clients attending and it would be bad for business to kill them off.
Everyone gave their mobile number with RSVP, so we adhered to the track and trace policy.
With 30 people attending within a time slot of 2h we got staggered arrivals, plus we already had all details, so no queueing.
Upon entry everyone was offered latex gloves if they wanted some, but there was also a pump bottle of hand sanitiser at each product display.
There was a one-way system applied to the park, with arrows on the floor and a map issued on arrival to emphasise the marked route.
We served drinks: The sparkly wine was in single serving bottles, no need to handle a drinking glass. Clients were encouraged to bring their own multi-use straw if they wanted.
The beer was served in cans, not totally high class but did not require bottle openers that everyone must touch.
The event itself went without a glitch and it was SO NICE to see everyone. Just have an actual conversation face to face and being able to talk to demonstrate the products in a live setting.
One of the most positive responses we got was how very well suited it was to have an event for the Luce & Light (mostly) exterior lights in a park environment during dusk and darkness “this is how we would use them” as one designer said.
We are very happy that we went ahead with it, we did worry about the general opinion and did not want to come across as reckless, but we think the level of care and preparation that went into this settled any such worries. Now we are just looking forward to the next one.