Working with the 'New Normal' - covid-19


2020 into 2021

Working to a new normal is a learning curve that most of us will have to undertake to some degree. Running events with social distancing as an essential requirement means that operators such as Market Square Group and Zoom Events have to learn quickly and put measures into place that provide for safe, well managed environment.

The days of live bands, crowded hospitality areas and the free mixing of folk at festivals seem like freedom lost, but there is another way forward and we have gone a considerable way to proving this since we started working to a new normal in 2020. Providing environments where people can have a good time while maintaining their obligation to protect the vulnerable through social distancing.

The stall holders have done and will continue doing their bit with screens, masks, gels and clear signage. Our stewards and security staff can similarly be relied upon to do a great job in gently guiding people through the measures that we have put in place. Add to this a little sunshine and we are reminded just how wonderful outdoor events can be. Thanks to everyone for working together to make these events safe and fun as possible as we look to a time in the near future when we can retake the full freedoms that we cherish.

Some of the considerations that we have addressed in adapting our events to ensure Covid safe environments. Here follows our response to questions raised by a Borough Council in September 2020:

1/ We are billing this event as a Late Summer Market so as to manage the expectations of both traders and visitors alike. Unlike our Food and Drink Festival, we will not be offering a full stage music package (please also see point 2), the bar offer will be reduced without the Festival cocktail element and there will be a number of measures in place to restrict the free movement of the public in order to promote social distancing. We will also be widening the range of goods and produce eligible for this event.  Clothing, jewellery, art, photography, and accessories will also be included alongside the food and drink to help promote a more ‘sedate’ environment and a focus more to towards retail than consumption.

2/ We wish to include live music but in a low key way with solo artists providing their own basic sound systems. We will use a 3x3M gazebo for the performance area rather than our purpose built stage. Background music rather than a main focus of the event.

3/ We will make the application for the TENS notice and send you a copy of the application

4/ We are working on the trader documentation and will be in a position to send you a copy of the current list by the deadline given. We will of course update you on a regular basis with any changes and /or additions to the trader list

5/ We will update the layout plan and send it through showing one way system, entrance, egress points and the new safe space planning

6/ Our Event Management Plan will be updated on a regular basis, taking into account the latest government guidance

7/ We have introduced a number of measures that have been successful in managing social distancing at our events in recent weeks including: operating one way systems, defined queuing areas, clear signage, firm but friendly stewarding, hand sanitising stations and clear signage to give advice and direct footfall.

8/ We will provide sufficient SIA security staff, stewards, staff member dedicated to waste management, and a staff team member who will be responsible for cleaning tables in the seating area. These will be in addition to the Market Manager and Event Manager. In conjunction with our measures for mitigating the risk of transmitting Covid 19, these staffing levels have proved more than adequate for the management of visitors numbers that we are currently averaging for our events in the present climate. I am sure that we can provide testimony to this from council EHOs who have made site visits to our previous events and found our plan to have operated very successfully.

9/ Now having decided on the title of the event, I am confident that we run an effective advertising campaign which will be designed to reach out to the communities of the town and its environs. As part of our efforts to keep visitors numbers manageable, we will target our audience carefully.