4 Scenarios for Conferences in 2021 Amid COVID-19 Uncertainty
I’m an optimist by nature, but also a realist. Although I think that 2021 will be the “Year of the Vaccine”, in-person events in 2021, even in the second half of the year, are far from guaranteed.
Here are four scenarios which respond to different ways the COVID-19 pandemic could affect holding large events in 2021.
Which scenario do you think is most likely?
Scenario A: “Normal” conference
- The conference will be held at the venue and will include the usual agenda packed with all attendees
- There will be pre-event activities across the city including dinners and happy hours
- Feasibility of this scenario largely depends on the roll-out of a possible vaccine for COVID-19 and the availability of reliable rapid onsite testing for those who can’t prove they are COVID-19 negative
Scenario B: Socially distant conference – at 1.5 meters
- This version would involve the usual agenda and stages — but this time with social distancing. The audience would be required to stay 1.5 metres away from each other at all times
- This option would require a new seating layout which would mean less available space and approx. 60% fewer attendees overall
- There will also be limits to the social pre-event activities (dinners, happy hours, etc.)
Scenario C: Conference with travel restrictions
- This scenario is for a situation where some international attendees would be unable to travel
- Like Scenario B, with social distancing, plus fewer international attendees
- If they are unable to travel internationally, they would still be able to attend the virtual component of a hybrid event
Scenario D: Conference in lockdown
- Worst-case scenario. If the country ends up in a strict lockdown situation again, there will still be a conference. However, this version will not involve a live audience nor activities around the city. Instead, it will be a virtual-only conference