There are dos and don’ts for every outdoor event, and as an organizer or host, it’s imperative that you follow them. Following those suggestions can ensure the guests remember the event for all the right reasons. Here is a sanitation checklist for your outdoor event.
Where are you holding your outdoor event? The location can make or break your event. For starters, hold the event in a place that’s easily accessible for the guests and is a comfortable environment to entertain in.
If you’re choosing a vacant lot, park, or open field, you want to ensure that the surrounding area does not clash with the event. Hosting a gathering two doors down from an establishment that gives off a foul odor is a big no-no. Scope out locations a few months in advance, as it could take a while to find the right place.
Once you have that location, you’ll need to sanitize it as best you can. Too many organizers through outdoor events in parks and lots without making the space look presentable first. Don’t start setting up equipment and stations on littered and unsanitary grounds. People can tell the difference between trash that’s been there and trash that just got there.
Clean up and then start the setup process. Even if you host the event in your backyard, you’ve got some work to do. Things need to be comfortable for your guests. Clean the patio furniture and tend to the yard a little bit. Cut the grass and shrubs and remove any weeds. Spruce the place up so when everyone walks in, the first thing they say is, “Wow, this looks great!”
Proper Spacing: Check
With the location checked and out of the way, you’ll need to turn your attention toward the spacing of it all. Organization matters the most because it’s the first line of defense against the spread of germs. If there is a section for games and activities, don’t locate it near the refreshments and food area—the same goes for the restroom.
Even if the space is small, everything needs to be spaced out at a proper distance. Survey the space and optimize it the best you can. Proper spacing not only keeps things sanitary but also eliminates the problem of crowding. Having the location look congested is not the same thing as having a full event.
There will be a portion when you, your crew, and the guests need to dispose of trash. Make sure that area is closed off from everything else. People need to know where the garbage section is, but it doesn’t need to be visible for the entire event. Consider putting up a few signs directing everyone where the trash is, so it’s not such an eyesore.
Vendors are great because they bring different options for guests and visitors to enjoy. But you want to choose vendors that share your same sanitation values. During the purview process, ask them how they sanitize their equipment and supplies, and pay them a visit if they have a storefront.
Seeing your vendors’ establishments could help you decide whether to hire them. Some host request they come with new supplies and equipment to ensure maximum sanitation for their event. If you don’t want to require them to buy new items, you can ask how they sanitize their things.
This is especially important for the food section. Pans and food utensils need to be spotless. Things might get messy down the line, but it should start off looking pristine. Consider keeping a hand sanitizer station near every vendor. Even if it’s not a hand-to-hand interactive station, having the option made available to them is a thoughtful gesture.
Food & Refreshments: Check
If people don’t come to an outdoor event for the activity, they definitely come for the food and refreshments. Because of its popularity, the food section doesn’t allow much room for error. There is a lot of activity in this section, so you’ll need a separate checklist for this area.
For starters, the area for guests to sit, eat, and enjoy needs to be clean. Buy new tablecloths or make sure the ones you have a washed a day before the event. Even if you washed them after the last event, they’ve been sitting and collecting dust. Next, wipe off all tables and chairs with disinfectant spray and a microfiber cloth.
Use a different cloth for each table—otherwise, you’re just spreading germs from one table to the next. After cleaning the sitting area, make sure you and your vendors have a food temperature thermometer to check the food before and during the event. There will more than likely be burners to keep the food warm, but it doesn’t hurt to be thorough. Lastly, keep everything covered. No food or drink should be exposed to the outside elements.
Cleaning Crew: Check
There’s always a clean-up portion at the end of the event, but it can be a long and taxing process. There is a way to shorten the experience and make things less tiring. Have a designated clean-up crew for the event so they can work as they go along.
Picking up discarded items here and there minimizes the damage in the end. Require every member to wear gloves as they clean to minimize the spread. The crew should arrive before the event, be stationed during, and stay after the closing.
You don’t have to leave this job solely to them. Every little bit helps. Having other members, volunteers, and even the vendors keep their stations clean is a big help.
And, of course, we need to discuss having proper accommodations for everyone at the event. There needs to be a section for guests to use the restroom—and they should not be afraid to approach it. Have your outdoor event be the place to break the status quo against portable restrooms.
Keep this area clean on the outside and the inside. Make sure each unit is properly stocked with the right amenities to ensure this. And more importantly, you’ll need restrooms for people with special needs. Here at Floods Royal Flush, we have handicap-accessible porta potties that will make a nice addition.
Like the trash area, space the restroom section away from the other activity. People need to see where it is, but it doesn’t need to be the focal point of the entire event.
This sanitation checklist for your outdoor event is just to get you started. If you need any more guidance with the planning, visit our website for more information.