How to organise a safe in-person event

What are the necessary measures for organising events? When and where is the Green Pass mandatory? How can you ensure participants’ safety during an event? In this article we try to answer the numerous questions concerning the organisation of in-person events.

The event industry was, without a doubt, among the most affected sectors if you consider all the measures implemented to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In a period in which social distancing was crucial to face the health emergency, events, fairs and conferences have become subject to several restrictions, and face-to-face meetings and networking opportunities have been completely erased.

Fortunately, this did not lead to the total stop of events, as the industry adapted itself to the new reality, in a way or another: after a few weeks of great uncertainty, the companies in the sector have somehow reinvented themselves and, using innovative technologies, opted for virtual events. Then replaced – when restrictions were partly lifted – with hybrid/phygital events that entail both the physical and digital presence of the participants.

Currently, although the pandemic does not allow to completely lift all restrictions, we have a tool that allows us to return to organise and/or participate in events: the Green Pass.

Although there is much confusion around this issue, also because of regulations that are often unclear and not homogeneous between the various countries, in this article we try to clarify the factors that everyone should take into consideration when organising an in-person event.

Organising an event in Italy

From 6th August 2021, the Green Pass has become mandatory to access fairs, conventions, congresses and any other aggregative activity included in the Legislative Decree GU n. 175 23-07-2021. This means that all participants must have the Green Pass that testifies:

  • They’ve got at least one shot of the EU approved vaccines;
  • They’ve got a negative Sars-cov-2 test result in the previous 48 hours;
  • They recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months and are now immune.

Who is in charge of checking the Green Pass?

The Legislative Decree n. 105 established that the owners or managers are in charge of verifying the Green Pass. This means that the event organisers will be in charge of verifying that those who access their event have a valid certification.

If an event is organised by a company directly, people working for that company will have to check the participants’ Green Pass; instead, if the organisation of the event is entrusted to an agency or to other professionals, they will be the ones in charge of checking the pass, with hostesses or stewards.

The legislation requires participants to show the Green Pass also to attend outdoor events such as local festivals and fairs. If these kinds of events take place in spaces without specific and univocal access gates, such as in public squares and streets, the organisers will only have to inform the visitors of the requirement with specific signs. In the case of random controls, only the person without the Green Pass will receive a fine, not the organisers who have complied with the information obligations.

How to check the Green Pass

In Italy, Green Pass controllers must use VerificaC19, the app developed by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Ministry for Technological Innovation and Digitisation, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Extraordinary Commissioner for the COVID-19 Emergency.

It’s a free app available for both iOS and Android that allows the staff to verify – by reading the QR code – the validity and authenticity of the “COVID-19 green certifications”, produced in Italy by the national “DGC” platform of the Ministry of Health, and of the “Digital European COVID Certificates” issued by the other member states of the European Union.

VerificaC19 has been developed to fully respect privacy and personal data protection, therefore it does not store or share with third parties the scanned information.

Before letting participants access the event, staff should:

  • ask attendees to show their certificate, either in digital or paper format;
  • scan the QR code using the VerificaC19 app;
  • wait for the confirmation of validity of the Green Pass.
Opening screenshot of the VerificaC19 app and the different scan results.

Obviously, only people holding a valid certification will be admitted to the event. Fines range between 400 and 1,000 euros, both for the organisers and for the participant who does not have a valid Green Pass.

Organising events in other European countries

Since the European Union has not established unique guidelines, each country can autonomously choose whether to request the Green Pass or not. Therefore, it is much more difficult to draw an overview of the situation in other countries. In addition, the regulations are subject to change based on the infection trends and data.

At the moment of writing, Spain does not require any certification to access trade fairs, public transport, bars or restaurants. In Denmark, the restrictions adopted in the past months have been lifted, so it will not be necessary to show your Green Pass to access events. Sweden also announced the abolition of many restrictions in September, thanks to the high participation of its citizens in the vaccination campaign.

France has instead much more restrictive rules that require the Green Pass not only to access fairs, meetings and conferences, but also restaurants and public transport. Masks, on the other hand, are no longer required except for public transport.

In Germany there’s the 3G rule (geimpft, genesen, getestet) that means vaccinated, recovered or with negative test. A green pass will therefore be required to access indoor or outdoor events with more than 5,000 people.

Finally, in the UK no pass is currently required to access fairs and events, but the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not ruled out the possibility of introducing it in the future.

The measures mentioned above refer to the necessity of having the Green Pass to access events, however, we invite you to check the requirements and necessary documents to cross national borders before participating in an international event.

Tips to safely organise an event

Since the regulations often leave room for interpretation and each country is facing the health emergency by itself, without following a common line, we are going to list a series of useful tips to try to limit the possibility of contagion, therefore guaranteeing a high level of safety for everyone involved.

Social distancing

Although no longer mandatory – if the event takes place outdoors or a green pass is required – it is advisable to ensure interpersonal distancing of at least one metre.

So, the organisers, depending on the type of event they wish to organise and the chosen location, will have to evaluate the maximum number of participants who can access the event at the same time and prepare all the necessary measures to avoid overcrowding.

To reduce overcrowding, it is advisable to also limit the access and create separate entry and exit routes.


As we have seen before, it is no longer mandatory to wear a mask indoors in some countries. However, to make your event safer, you should provide participants with hand sanitizing gels and containers dedicated to the collection of PPEs.

Measuring the body temperature at the entrance and forbidding entry to those who have a temperature above 37.5 ° C is also important for security purposes.

Sanitisation of the location

Carrying out constant cleaning and disinfection remains one of the fundamental steps to ensure the safety of the participants. Pay also particular attention to the most exposed surfaces such as toilets and common areas (for example, keypads of vending machines, handrails, door handles, elevator buttons, etc.).

Serving meals and beverages

If we wish to offer our guests meals and drinks during our event, it will be necessary to take the right precautions. In the case of a buffet, guests will not be able to serve themselves independently, but selected staff will be required to do it. Self-service is allowed only with single-dose packaged meals.

Informative material

The World Health Organization recommends providing adequate information on the behaviour to keep and on hygiene and health rules that visitors should follow, for example through the dissemination of informative material.

The organiser might study an awareness campaign even before the event, by sending electronic infographics, videos and newsletters on the prevention measures adopted and the rules that visitors should follow during the event. The information must be positioned in a clearly visible way, with the aid of special signs and audio-video systems. If we have international visitors, the guidelines should also be available in other languages.

To avoid interpersonal contacts and prevent the transmission of the virus, it is also advisable to avoid printing and distributing leaflets and flyers.

To monitor and promote measures compliance, the event organiser can hire staff specifically assigned to this task.

To sum up

The uncertain and constantly evolving health situation and the absence of common international legislation could discourage us from organising our next event. However, compared to a few months ago, we now have a tool that allows us to prepare an event with greater calm and safety. The Green Pass, as a matter of fact – although not required in all countries – certifies that visitors have received at least one shot of the vaccine, have recently recovered from COVID-19 or have a negative test result, so it helps to ensure a safer environment.

In addition to this, in the article we have listed the main rules we should respect, in order to contain the pandemic. These are mainly aimed at the organisers, but also the participants will obviously have to play their role, referring to the sense of individual responsibility and respecting the current regulations.

EOS Mktg & Communication can be your ideal partner in organising and promoting an event, supporting you in the implementation of all the regulations that are necessary to ensure the safety of the staff and all participants. Contact us to find out about our services.

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Since I was a child, my school career has been driven by a passion for what I wanted to do when I was grown up. So I graduated in modern languages and cultures at the University of Pavia and now I'm studying journalism and communication at the University of Bergamo. Today I do what I like most: I work in the technical publishing industry dedicating myself in particular to social media and digital marketing at Eos Mktg&Communication, the publishing house of the international ipcm® magazines. If I had to describe myself in three words according to my hobbies and interests, I would say: globetrotter, shopaholic and motorsport-addicted.

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