reopening community engagement: tips for planning

Now that the world is re-opening for business once again, the team here at ZINC Strategies is excited to ‘reopen doors’ to the public. The last 18 months have taught us a lot about working with people – and we look forward to engaging in person once again.

With plans now underway for in-person events in the fall, we’re looking ahead at how to continue to keep people safe, keep up with provincial safety guidelines – and respect new and changing personal boundaries for participants.

With these transitions in mind, staying nimble will be key. Here are some strategies on how planning events in this brave new world will preserve the trust of both clients and staff:

Clear communication is key

Have an easy-to-understand safety plan. Organize a team meeting to go over major points with your staff, and how things may have changed since your last event.

COVID planning practices are still best practices

Create space to spread out, offer directional signage, block off seating, reduce bathroom capacities. Make it clear with display signs that set out any requirements – and at minimum – include reminders about safe distancing, hand washing and personal health monitoring.

Keep spaces bigger for now

Continue to provide enough space that people can safely distance and make sure ventilation is adequate for indoor gatherings. We’re not yet back to the ‘cozy and quaint’ fireside-chat style meetings.

Reconsider food service options

Most people aren’t ready for ‘shared bowl’ snacks yet – think about how you can offer refreshments in a safe way – skip the plate of cookies at the coffee table and opt for single-serve snack options. Talk with your caterer – they have great advice.

Be flexible

Online opportunities will not disappear with the return to in-person events: continue to offer hybrid engagement opportunities. Consider this as an opportunity to expand your audience. For more in-depth information on how to improve online engagement, see ZINCTANK’s online tips for engagement platforms.

Be Patient

Everyone is coming back to public spaces and events at their own pace. These events will generate different feelings for participants – some of which may not be anticipated. This is not yet a ‘return to normal’, and we will need to stay adaptive.

Implementing a clear communication plan and safety strategies will instill confidence in both participants and clients while demonstrating your ability to remain agile in the shifting landscape of business interactions.

For more information about BC’s Restart plan please follow the link: BC’s restart plan

Everyone is excited to get back to business as usual; by keeping these simple tips in mind, workplaces will have the tools to reopen safely and smoothly. We look forward to seeing you again! And as Dr. Bonnie Henry says, “Be kind, be calm and be safe.”

How has your business remained flexible during BC’s restart plan? Please send us a note at