The changes to the way we live and come together to share experiences, celebrate and enjoy have happened suddenly this year. One minute, we were making plans and booking things to look forward to, the next we were cancelling, postponing and digging in for renewed lockdown measures.

With everything we’ve been through and the continuing uncertainty about safety, the practicalities of kick-starting events and mass gatherings again is only one aspect of the challenge facing the events industry. Just as demanding is the need to restore consumer confidence in the safety of events. With the right solutions in place, however, this could be less of an obstacle to renewed vigour in the sector than many might assume, and the Crowdgate system is leading innovation in getting people back to doing the things they love.

A History of Adapting to Change

One of the biggest indicators that the right crowd management solution will be instrumental in boosting consumer confidence in attending events and gatherings is the fact the sector has risen to the challenge of mitigating risk before.

The hostile vehicle attacks on the Berlin Christmas markets and the Bastille Day celebrations in Nice in 2016, along with similar attacks on tourist crowds in London and Barcelona in 2017, highlighted a threat that had not previously been a factor in event management planning. While many members of the public were determined not to let such tactics interfere with their lifestyles, a new awareness of the vulnerability of crowds to terror attacks resulted in people staying away from major events in the aftermath of these tragedies. It also prompted the events industry to take action and put plans in place to mitigate risk.

Similarly, terrorist knife and gun attacks have also impacted on consumer confidence in the safety of public gatherings and events, which has resulted in new measures from the events industry.

The important factor to note is that the events industry responded with solutions that mitigate risk while enabling people to enjoy getting together for leisure, tourism, business and entertainment. Indeed, Crowdguard has become a leader in the sector with the Surface Guard Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) barrier, a crash-tested IWA14 pedestrian permeable barrier, which was named Physical Security Product of the Year at the Counter Terror Awards 2019. With measures in place to mitigate risk and offer a visible, reassuring approach to protecting safety without becoming intrusive, consumer confidence was restored and the events and tourism industry quickly recovered.

Mitigating Risk Without Damaging the Experience

Clearly, the challenge we face with the COVID-19 pandemic is different from the terror attack risk that has evolved and become more pervasive over time. The virus is an invisible threat, immune to physical barriers, but capable of affecting large groups of people and spreading quickly. After months of lockdown, social distancing and self-isolation, reticence about gathering in large crowds is only natural.

That’s why it is so important that solutions designed to control public health vulnerabilities in crowd management scenarios offer confidence that every aspect of risk has been considered. Moreover, they must mitigate risk without damaging enjoyment of the event, because people want their return to mass gatherings to be as authentically similar to their pre-COVID experience as possible. For renewed consumer confidence, safety and a positive event experience must go hand-in-hand, which is why Crowdgate is such a game changer.

A Multi-tiered Solution

Designed to address all aspects of event risk, including terror attacks, knife and gun crime and anti-social behaviour, as well as COVID-19 infection control, Crowdgate combines pre-event health screening and registration with on site checks, safety measures and track and trace functionality.

Each attendee must carry out a health screening questionnaire within 48 hours of the event start time. Successful completion of this check generates a unique QR code for entry to the event. On arrival at the venue, each attendee enters the Crowdgate bio-cabin and receives a mask from the dispenser if they have not brought their own, and uses hand-sanitiser from a contactless unit. This is followed by a temperature check and facial recognition camera before access can be gained through the turnstile using the unique QR code. The final step through to the event is via a metal detector to check for weapons before the attendee is admitted.

This system has been designed to offer multiple layers of attendee and event safety without slowing down visitor flows at the event. Over 1400 people can be admitted per cabin, per hour, ensuring that additional health and safety checks do not create a bottle neck, which could potentially reduce enjoyment or compromise social distancing as crowds gather for entry. The Crowdgate system can be used in combination with Surface Guard HVM for a complete risk mitigation solution.

Overcoming the Barriers to Consumer Confidence

The public has become accustomed to the ‘new normal’ but most are looking for ways to return to the old normal as soon as possible. Consumer confidence may be a barrier to planning events in 2021 but, with the right protective solution in place, it is a barrier that can be overcome effectively.

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