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Tips For A COVID-Safe Christmas Party

Published December 07, 2020 (last updated February 24, 2021) -
colleagues enjoying a covid-safe christmas party

It has been a tough year and now that restrictions seem to be easing across the board, many businesses are thinking about organising a Christmas staff party so employees can reconnect and celebrate the end of 2020. If the idea of getting dressed up, preparing a few drinks and nibbles, and then logging in for a virtual party via an online platform doesn’t really appeal, then consider the tips below for a COVID-Safe Christmas Party.

COVID-Safe Planning

As with any gathering in recent times, you should firstly check the current government health directives, so you know what restrictions are in place. Keep monitoring government sites for changes and have a back-up plan just in case. Ensure you and the chosen venue have a COVID-Safe plan if required. You should also make it clear beforehand to anyone who will be present at the party that if they are unwell, particularly if they have a cough or a cold, they should not attend the event.

Take It Outside

Whilst the physical distance you must maintain between yourself and others differs per state or territory, generally if the event is outside the permitted social distance between guests is less than inside, so why not pick an outdoor venue, particularly if you have a larger crowd. An additional benefit is that you can breathe in fresh rather than recycled air.

If you are outdoors, then generally employees will be able to stand and consume drinks or food. Consider a rooftop or garden party, or even chartering a boat. Though in many cases there are still restrictions on dancing (and singing!), an outdoor gathering lends itself to other team building exercises or games, such as lawn bowls or a scavenger hunt.

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Keep It Small

Generally, if you are indoors, employees must sit at a table or bar. You can limit numbers and have individual team events rather than one big party for the entire business. Think about a lunch with table-based games such as trivia or charades.

Or Size It Up

Alternatively, choose a public venue with plenty of room and manage the flow to the bar to allow for social distancing. You may not be able to choose a cocktail party format as not all state or territory restrictions will permit this. Live music is generally permitted, provided the designated physical distancing between and from the performers is observed.

Consider Catering

Buffets or share plates should be avoided to reduce any risks associated with shared utensils. Individually packaged items or personal plates ideally delivered to the table by a waitperson are the safest option.

Health And Hygiene

Whatever type of event you choose, make sure you register everyone who attends, as this is important for contract tracing purposes. Ideally you should have one person with a check list or an app to minimise touchpoints. Provide hand sanitiser during the event and consider limiting the party time to a couple of hours.

Remind everyone of safe hygiene practices (e.g. to sneeze or cough into their arm or a tissue and throw it away) at intervals during the event and to socially distance themselves from others. Wearing face masks may be a requirement, if not for the party itself, then perhaps for the ride home on public transport.

Remember to set clear expectations around behaviour and the consumption of alcohol, and with the appropriate measures in place, your staff party will be a safe and successful end to 2020.

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About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 5,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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