How COVID affected special event security in 2020 and how its bouncing back in 2021
When the virus made its first appearance in the USA early in 2020, Seattle was the focal point. All flights from China were curtailed, but as events bore out, the virus was also entering the country from Europe. Early on, Americans hoped the disease could be contained on the west coast.
Special events at that time cautiously continued. Organizers remembered SARS from China coming to the United States, but being contained by contact tracing, hand washing, and disinfection of common surfaces. SARS seemed to just die out.
In fact, some of the special events in the country turned out to be super spreaders of the disease. Trade shows, conventions, basketball games were continued in the first quarter.
Very quickly, however, the Nation realized COVID was a global pandemic, and the number of severely ill Americans proved that this was no SARS. Special events were cancelled across the nation, baseball, basketball and, later, football seasons were cancelled. Warships were infected. Cruise ships were infected. Even church choirs turned out to be COVID spreading events.
As the special events were cancelled, GSS special event security missions subsequently became non-existent for much of 2020.
From the gloom of the pandemic, a light began to shine at the end of the tunnel of depression. New treatment protocols and successful therapeutics were developed and put into action. Most of the infected were able to quarantine at home, and after infection were considered immune.
Later in 2020 sporting events cautiously resumed, as did conventions and trade shows – all rigorously adhering to CDC guidance.
In addition to CDC guidelines, New York state created their Forward Safety Plan specifically addressing tasks and best practices for functioning in a COVID infected world. Critical to planning were personal protection equipment, personnel interviews, log keeping and storing, and monitoring/reporting staff health.
GSS, anticipating a resumption of special event security assignments, established protocols complying with the NY Forward Safety Plan, which included assigning a COVID Compliance Officer (CCO) to all special events. This officer, having completed C19CO training, is responsible for establishing and enforcing safety protocols, training staff, and monitoring compliance at all special events.
2021 brought approval of highly effective vaccines for prevention of COVID, with rapid distribution begun nationwide.
GSS special event security business is returning in 2021. Attendees and potential clients notice GSS professional screening of attendees, using NY state approved questionnaires, temperature scans, and monitoring of entranceways. GSS signage is posted at all entrance locations, reminding attendees of social distancing requirements and required face covering. GSS provides hand sanitizer stations.
Scientists are predicting, with the widespread vaccination of citizens, and those previously infected and vaccinated, that the country will achieve herd immunity later in 2021. At that time society, and special events, will return to normal.
The best advertising is word of mouth. Having raised the GSS professional profile of successful special event security assignments, the company expects a robust rebound in special event security by the end of 2021. In addition, in July 2020 GSS was tapped by the City to be part of the Citywide Events Advisory Group to strategize best practices, share industry-wide solutions and recommend innovations and protocols. For further information see: https://www.exhibitoronline.com/news/article.asp?ID=20810