Health and safety protocols at the 2021 IRF Education Invitational, one of the industry’s first large-scale in-person events since the beginning of the pandemic, led to a COVID-free event, reports the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF).
The IRF hosted nearly 500 attendees June 2-5, at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort in Florida. Throughout the entire planning process, health and safety protocols were a driving factor in every decision. In post-event surveys conducted five, ten and 21 days after the event, no attendees reported any red-flag symptoms, illness, or positive COVID-19 test.
The Foundation’s planning process and protocols are detailed in a new case study, Health & Safety Protocols Lead to COVID-Free Event, now available for download.
“The IRF is proud that the Board, staff, partners, and attendees worked together to ensure a safe environment at the 2021 IRF Education Invitational,” said Stephanie Harris, president, IRF. “Successful planning required new strategies and timely responses to evolving circumstances and guidelines. But most important, ensuring the comfort, health, and safety of our attendees was our ultimate goal.”
From room setup to required health screenings, the IRF continuously revised the program design and health and safety protocols for the event. As vaccinations became more accessible and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines became less restrictive, the IRF’s policies continued to be modified just prior to the event. For example, attendees were just days before the event that the mask mandate had been relaxed so that fully vaccinated attendees were not required to wear a mask.
The case study provides insights into the process that resulted in a safe and successful event:
- Health & Safety Partners: The IRF expanded its capabilities by forming partnerships with businesses that specialize in critical health and safety services.
- Pre-Event Planning: Considerations around program design and distancing included spacing and room setups, attendee flow, networking, and food and beverage service.
- During the Event: Shifting the mask mandate, daily health screenings, proximity contact tracing, and temperature checks.
- Post-Event Follow-up: Surveys five, 10 and 21 days after the event.