In 2021, you’ll need to plan for the Covid rulebreakers

Happy new year! Here’s hoping you had a restful Christmas and a peaceful start to 2021. I know I didn’t.

You see, the man upstairs had a New Year’s Eve party. It wasn’t a huge party, from the noise coming through the ceiling it sounded like around five or six adults doing karaoke for much of the evening. In normal times, this would hardly be anything to get upset about; you expect people to ring in the New Year by having a few friends round.

However – and this hardly needs pointing out – we are not living in normal times. I live in an area operating under Tier 4 restrictions, where government guidance clearly states: “You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.”

From the sounds of it, our upstairs neighbour was ignoring that guidance. So what to do? I didn’t fancy reporting my neighbour to the police – I have to live underneath him for a start.

Also, if I was going to call the police, I’d want to be completely sure that he was breaching the guidelines. And despite strong suspicions, I didn’t know for certain that those people in his flat weren’t part of his support bubble.

So what did I do? I did nothing. Neither did anyone else in the block. He got away with it.

From the looks of things, he wasn’t the only one. The middle-aged couple in the big flat two doors down that I can see while I’m doing the washing up had people round. The same couple that made a big show of banging pots and pans on the balcony for the NHS every Thursday night earlier in the year. A few other flats I can see seemed to have more people in them than usual.

It all added to the evidence that we’ve all seen over the last few months to show that there is a small, but still significant amount of people out there who are not willing to follow the rules.

Generally, it feels like the majority of people are for the most part following the guidelines, albeit perhaps with the odd minor breach here or there.

But then there are the 10 to 15 per cent of people who are just going about their lives as usual, with scant regard for the guidance.

And here’s the thing, eventprofs. When business events return in 2021, they will almost certainly do so with restrictions in place. There will most likely be government restrictions on numbers and distancing – and also restrictions that event planners may wish to put in place themselves. You’ll no doubt be drawing up plans for what this will look like over the next few months.

Therefore, this small but significant group of people who are not paying heed to guidance needs to be factored in.

What are you going to do if one of your delegates refuses to adhere to social distancing at an event? Refuses to hand sanitise? Refuses to wear a mask when requested?

We know that this group of people exists, and there’s a strong possibility that they’re going to end up attending one of your events at some point this year. So if I were you, my New Year’s resolution for 2021 would be to come up with a contingency plan.

Because it seems likely you’ll need one.