Urbano Network events & coronavirus

September, 2020 Update


Hi All

I am mainly writing this new piece in response to a few enquiries from members asking when we are going to hold a face-to-face networking event again.

We know a few companies held outdoor events over summer - mostly not in London and organised by companies for their clients, it must be noted - and some members attended them. I have also seen some networking organisations are hosting events in September. We ourselves are actively exploring the options but I wanted to lay out where we stand.

First, the rules. These change (again) on September 14th and basically are stopping gatherings in restaurants and bars (and the home) for more than 6 people (made up of two family groups known to each other - the so-called bubble). This is the easiest source to understand the latest changes: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51506729

Workplaces are exempt but we understand this is to allow meetings where more than 6 people could be present. This seems to be a specific relaxation to encourage workplace activity. We have checked with members with event space on-site and there are understanding like ours (and some are lawyers) is that they can only let employees into  work, not host others employed elsewhere. A lot of landlords are also restricting access along these same lines.

Our issue is risk; not so much catching and being a catalyst to the spread corona and all that could entail, but the implications of the following scenario:

We host a face-to-face networking event and bring together 24 business people from different companies to network. We observe social distancing rules and ask all those looking to attend to confirm they haven't travelled back recently from a restricted country and to assure us have no symptoms. These kinds of checks should happen up to and on the day of the event itself.

A few days after the event, one of the attendees goes to a bar or restaurant. They subsequently get a call through track and trace to inform them that they were within the vicinity of someone testing positive for Covid in that pub or restaurant.

They are then obliged by law to give our details to track and trace and they contact us for the details of everyone who attended our event.

EVERYONE AT THE EVENT THEN HAS TO QUARANTINE ACCORDING TO THESE GUIDELINES:

By attending a face-to-face event, you could be quarantined for up to 24 days. Companies then have to do track and trace to find out who shared office space with that person, met them for a coffee etc. It is is easy to see how the more contacts you make the more opportunities to get quarantined.

This is the current risk and we feel this is potentially more damaging to businesses than the benefits of attending an event AT PRESENT. It is the impact of companies on their representatives being quarantined that leads us to believe the SMEs and larger corporates that make up the majority of our membership have taken similar assessments and will not allow their teams to attend face-to-face events.

As I say, this is being monitored daily, but especially while holiday returners from Spain, France and UK staycationers etc are bringing subsequent spikes in infection rates - which we believe the government is reacting to - then we need to wait at least until October 1st (ie 14 days from September 14th) to consider hosting our first face-to-face networking event.

But the situation is liquid and for now you have Zoom and me. And if you think Zoom is shit for networking, click here to read what some attendees say about my screen networking skills.

Hasta la networking, siempre!


Mark
Connector-In-Chief, Urbano Network

PS.I am always interested to hear your personal reaction and thoughts to the above. Click my name to email me.

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