As we inch closer to the fall, this can be a busy time in the events industry. Even more so, with the pandemic restrictions being gradually lifted, we thought it would be insightful to look at what has been happening in the United States compared to Canada with reopening and in-person events. We also wanted to look at what's happening across Canada, province to province, as different parts are following other guidelines and reopening plans. So let's take a look!
What is happening in the United States, and are Events Happening?
The United States has drastically had different Covid restrictions essentially spanning over the entire course of the pandemic. Although Covid restrictions vary from State to State, a majority of the states are fully open with little to no restrictions. Although almost all States have become fully open, some are still attempting to follow guidelines to protect their citizens.
California is still following guidelines and gradually opening up its State. For events, they are capping limits at 10,000 outdoors and 5,000 indoors. This means that many music festivals and events like Coachella, Hard Summer and Stage-Coach Festival were capped at certain limitations and capacities. The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers had strict capacity and mask-wearing mandates even during the NBA playoffs. At the same time, other teams around the league were completely open, maskless and packed to capacity.
Hawaii has been one of the strictest states when it comes to Covid 19. However, they recently opened up the State for people to travel there from other parts of the world and the United States. Hawaii was the last State to do so.
New York, which was one of the worst-hit states in America, completely opened up their travel restrictions and event restrictions back in June.
When looking at actual events happening around the United States now, they seem to be completely open and normal. For example, one of the popular event locations, Las Vegas, has been open with no restrictions since June. In addition, events have been going on in both In-person, virtual and hybrid, gathering large crowds with almost complete normalcy.
Some events happening in Las Vegas this August include The Pizza Expo (Worlds Largest Pizza and Italian Restaurant Trade Show), which will see 11,000 visitors,
The International Artisan Bakery Expo which will see 50,000 visitors
And MAGIC Las Vegas, which is one of the world's largest fashion weekends, will see 200,000 visitors come to Las Vegas for the weekend.
As you can see, business seems to be back to normal in the United States, and time will tell if this was the right or wrong decision.
What about Across Canada?
Like The United States, Canada's provinces have followed varying reopening plans instead of one set guide that the entire country has followed. From British Columbia to Ontario and out east, everywhere has been different.
British Columbia has seen significant restrictions lifted, including zero restrictions on personal indoor or outdoor gatherings. Indoor and outdoor organized events can have 50% capacity. If the event space is for 30,000, 15,000 can be in attendance. This is excellent news for people living in Vancouver as the events world is on its way back to British Columbia
Alberta has lifted all safety measures and is officially in its "Stage 3" plan, meaning life in Alberta is normal. All capacity restrictions have been lifted, major events can occur without restrictions or limits, and indoor/outdoor gatherings have the go-ahead. For example, in July, Alberta's Calgary Stampede Event was hosted where 528,998 people were in attendance. The event was ten days of music, cowboy events, food and entertainment.
Ontario, specifically Toronto, has been in "Stage 3" for the past month. This stage saw restaurants, clubs, events, sporting venues, and gyms reopening at a specific capacity with safety measures still in place. This past weekend we were fortunate enough to attend a Toronto FC game which honestly made life feel quite normal in the city. As well, the Toronto Blue Jays are now back playing games at the Rogers Centre. As Ontario continues to strive for their needed vaccinations numbers, they will enter "Stage 4," which will be completely open once these are obtained.
Nova Scotia and other Maritime Provinces have had some of the strictest restrictions throughout the pandemic. "The Maritime Bubble" saw almost no travel to and from the Maritimes over the course of the pandemic, keeping the east coast's cases relatively low. These Provinces are currently in "Phase 4" of their reopening plan that sees similar restrictions to Ontario. They plan to reopen come September fully.
In regards to the Events industry, this past month has been quite positive. We have seen the reopening of event locations and an increasing number of indoor and outdoor events taking place. So whether it's conferences, sports venues, or concerts, this has been a month in the right direction. The Debonair team continues to help our clients execute and plan both in-person and virtual events that will continue to ramp up into the fall.
I, myself, am going to an Arkell's concert at Budweiser Stage in Toronto this Friday! Stay tuned on our Instagram page to see what a post-pandemic concert looks and feels like.