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Tips for event planners in the wake of coronavirus outbreak

Kigali – According to the World Health Organisation, known as coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed in-vestigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.


This year the novel coronavirus, or Covid-19, has resulted into the can-cellation of many social and corporate events in Rwanda. Event manage-ment companies have received a number of event reschedules and cancel-lations though most of them have not been able to confirm the new dates. This is because what comes first in an event industry is the health and safety of participants. Although this remains paramount, organisers must also comprehend the impact that such a decision could have on their event, since both canceling and deciding to go forward with an event where many attendees will no longer want to attend would lead to further consequences.


A couple of planners have opted to relocate events, others haven’t yet confirmed. This option is a good concession for many planners who are determined to move forward with their events but are also mindful of the coronavirus risk, which comes with its own challenges. Event manage-ment companies should consider working on the following since no events are currently ongoing;


Research and development

This is a great opportunity for event personnel to research and gain more insights and innovations that may improve personal and corporate knowledge. This can come in the form of learning, reflecting, and re-charging.

Undertake an online professional course

Some say that wisdom comes with age while others insist that it comes from learning. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, learning is open to all. One of the things that can be done would be taking up a professional course, so as to improve the performance of a given career. A professional course feeds a continuous need to upgrade our skills, it also enables indi-viduals to connect with individuals across the globe and share ideas and knowledge.

Conduct self-assessment

The teams should take time to evaluate themselves by identifying their strength, weakness, strength and make appropriate judgement on how to work better. The purpose of self-assessment is to help the individual know the extent of their abilities and to improve upon them without the need of a performance appraiser. It involves the use of questions such as; what are my strengths; what are the obstacles, etc.

Take employee leave

Employers can use this time to provide employee annual leaves. Rwanda being the destination of big events has made event personnel not to have enough free time for annual leaves, hence another opportunity to take some time off. This time can be used to take care of the families and en-gage in regular physical activity which improves muscle strength and boost endurance.

Re-schedule events

Event management host teams should take the lead in supporting the planners when to re-schedule their upcoming events. A calendar of up-coming events should also remain a working document until the corona-virus epidemic has been brought under control.

Once the cure of coronavirus is on the market and available for usage, the shared points will make the execution of upcoming events successful. In conclusion, regarding the current epidemic and its side effects on the event industry, few measures considered could keep planners and hosts busy. Though a setback, it’s also an opportunity in disguise to grow, im-prove and alter what was meant to grow. The outbreak offers partly space and opportunity to event managers to do more than they originally would have done. It’s also an opportunity for event managers to prepare ahead, well before the events come back thick and fast.

The writer is Project Manager, Rwanda Events Group.

The views expressed in this article are of the author.

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