If you’ve spent any time listening to the news or scrolling through social media, you’ve heard the term social distancing. While the term has only been used for a few months in the United States and Canada, the practice is centuries old, and is first recorded in the States during the 1916 New York City polio epidemic. For many then and many now, social distancing means no jobs—and social distancing for event vendors is no exception.
Thankfully, there are ways to practice safe social distancing for event vendors. We cover a few in this post, but before we get to that: Make sure whatever methods you use comply with your specific state’s mandates and national guidelines. These suggestions might not bring in your usual amount of revenue, but they can still generate some income. Plus, they let you connect and share your passion with your community.
What Is Social Distancing?
Social distancing, also referred to as physical distancing, is the practice of staying at least 6 feet away from other individuals. In regards to COVID-19, it is a preventative measure that keep individuals who don’t live in the same home from spreading the virus to one another. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Coronavirus is spread, “primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth.” By staying far enough apart, you reduce the risk of passing your droplets onto someone else—which can happen through talking, sneezing, or even breathing.
The premise of social distancing is clear—stay away from people you don’t live with! On top of that, guidelines from the Center for Disease Controls strongly discourage crowds over 10 people. Although these parameters keep us safe, they also leave many in the event planning industry without jobs. No one is planning events because no one is gathering together. So, what are some ways to practice safe social distancing for event vendors?
Photographers & Videographers
If you are an event-based photographer or videographer, consider shifting your expertise to family portraits and “home” videos. Photographers around the nation are taking photos of families who are home together—just from a safe distance. You could meet at a local park (if it’s open!) or even take photos at the family’s house, from a safe distance on the side walk or quiet street.
Bonus Tip: Offer to take graduation portraits from a safe distance, or record the graduate walking down the “aisle” from the driveway or sidewalk.
Videographers can do the same. Everyone is still having birthdays, and you can help document that special moment from afar. Maybe the family is at the park and you can capture footage of kite flying and dog walking. And if you know anyone organizing a drive-by birthday or graduation party, offer to document the event on film.
Chances are you’re no longer making wedding bouquets and graduation corsages. If no one’s coming to you for flowers—bring the bouquets to them! Start delivering bouquets to local residents during social distancing. Let your community know that you’re accepting online or call-in orders for flower deliveries. They’re perfect for Mother’s and Father’s Days, graduation, and “just because.”
You can charge a small delivery fee on top of the cost for the arrangement, and include a vase and note if you have the supplies. Then, a few days a week, deliver the flowers to the appropriate locations. Of course, you’ll have to leave them on a porch or in a mailbox so you keep your distance. Social distancing for event vendors is important, too!
Many restaurants are still in business, offering delivery and takeout options for the locals. How can your catering business do the same? If you have a store front, you can open it up for takeout meals. (Again, only if your state allows this.) Keep your hours specific and consistent, so the locals know when they can call on you. And if you don’t have anywhere to set up a pop-up shop, reach out to local restaurants. They may be willing to join forces to keep both companies running.
Often, restaurants have a regular, established menu so customers know what they can order—and the same goes for takeout. If you don’t already have a takeout menu for individuals or families, we recommend creating one and sharing it on your website and social media pages. This not only advertises your new business direction, but it also lets customers call to place an order, instead of visiting your store and waiting. (Window shopping for a restaurant may have worked before social distancing, but now diners want to get back home as quickly as possible.)
DJs & Entertainers
We still need your art and music now, more than ever—and the internet lets you share it with us! Have you considered starting your own YouTube channel, or live streaming a concert for your fans? Most social media platforms have a live broadcast option, so you can start the performance right from your phone.
You can even reach out to other performers—near or far—and do live jam sessions. You can even experiment with a new instrument or medium if you need to break up the monotony! The platforms you use might not bring in revenue directly. But you can always set up a donate button or crowdfunding page for fans who have the means to help you out.
Although many people aren’t planning new events, they definitely need help navigating the events they already have on the calendar. From rescheduled weddings to cancelled graduation parties and travel plans, the event planning world is filled with panicked planners. Instead of offering new event services, start helping with event cancellations and rescheduling. If you have the time and ability, you can take over the event planning (or cancelling!) entirely, or simply offer consultation services to individuals and couples who don’t know what next steps to take.
If you’re feeling bold, consider entering the digital event world. Does the happy couple still want to get married—just at a virtual wedding instead? You can coordinate the live stream equipment—including speeches and special performances—along with a six-feet-away photographer and decorations. (Decorations that are put up before the couple arrives, so you don’t get too close, that is!)
There are many ways to support your business while respecting social distancing for vendors. You may have to try something new or break out of your comfort zone a little bit. But we are in unexpected times right now, and a little creativity goes a long way. If you are coordinating photo shoots, flower deliveries, and anything in between—do so over the phone or a video chat. It will keep everyone safe, and you have so many options!
How is your business responding to COVID-19? Were any of these suggestions useful? Why or why not?