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Event security in times of Covid-19 – Challenges of private security companies

By | 21. July 2020|Aktuell, Im Einsatz, News|

The Covid-19 pandemic had and still has an impact on many industries. The event sector including all its suppliers and attached service industries was struck especially hard by to the ongoing restrictions on large-scale events. This means a huge loss for Germany’s sixth biggest economic sector that is usually pulling in around 130bn € annual revenue.

Many events were already postponed into 2021, others take place with a massively decreased number of guests. In order to execute events in times of strict hygiene regulations and social distancing, creativity and extensive planning is required.


Summerjam Corona Edition

Summer, Sun, Summerjam: About 30.000 festival guests celebrate and enjoy life at Fühlinger Lake in Cologne, surrounded by Reggae and Hip Hop beats – this is what the last 25 years looked like when we were in charge of event security at Summerjam festival. This year of course everything is very different. Major events will be prohibited at least until 31st of October in the state of North Rhine Westphalia and it’s uncertain whether big concerts and crowded stadiums are something to expect for the rest of 2020 at all. Against all odds, this year’s iteration of Summerjam didn’t have to be cancelled, only it took place in a rather unusual matter. About 170 guests were able to celebrate their love for Reggae and Hip Hop music in a more intimate atmosphere and a location switch from Fühlinger lake to Cologne’s Rheinau harbour. All fans who didn’t get one of the highly desired tickets were able to follow the event via live stream. Also on site: our R.A.D Summerjam festival team, only this time matching the events smaller scale in terms of team members. This year we didn’t focus as much on access controls and guiding big crowds but on enforcing the strict hygiene regulations.


Event security today

While events were completely prohibited in the past few months, some small-scale events like family get-togethers, weddings and other privately organized events are allowed to be carried out again. Even though the strict hygiene regulations require an increased amount of private security personnel to monitor and enforce regulations, just as happened while the Corpus Christi celebration at Cologne Cathedral last month, these factors can not outweigh the huge losses of any security company that is specialized in event security.


Security measures and concepts in times of Covid-19

We have touched on this topic more generally on previous articles already but want to give a more personal insight now.

Which explicit regulations have to be fulfilled at events does always depend on the respective federal state and the location. General recommendations for action from epidemiologic point of view are provided by several institutions such as the Robert Koch Institute or the Research Institute for Exhibition and Live Communication (R.I.F.E.L).

In times of Covid-19 our security personnel face following tasks and challenges:

  • Monitoring the wearing of face masks – this is not only important for guests but also for our own security personnel.
  • Enforcement of the required safety distance between guests and security officers and if possible, even between members of the security team
  • Supply of disinfectant and safety gear as well as giving user instructions on these materials
  • Prevention of group formation and clearance of crowded areas
  • Communicating and explaining the regulations to guests which requires communication skills as some guests are less perceptive than others

First results

So far, most hygiene concepts we came across are well thought through and feasible in our eyes. The majority of guests seem to understand the necessity and support our work in enforcing the regulations which are included in these concepts. While doing our job we have received plenty of support and good will so far. Still we suggest to only put security personnel in charge that is skilled, qualified, confident in handling safety gear and enforcement of hygiene regulations. Not every guest is willing to understand and obey the rules that we all have to play at right now, therefore expertise and communication skills are even more important than usual. At the same time, greater effort has also to be made when it comes to equipment such as safety gear, disinfectant, signs and barriers.

It’s still uncertain how long it takes until major events can take place under normal circumstances again. Reduced amounts of participants and increased demand in work force and equipment continue to put the whole economic sector under pressure. Like all companies in the event business we do also wish for a recovery of the industry soon. But for now the focus has to be on the overall health and a flattened curve!

Stay healthy!

Your #TeamRAD

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