While I was concerned, and (perhaps overly) communicative about the 13th year anniversary of Bubbles, Baubles & Bling, where any/all women are welcome to join in on the post-birthday, pre-holiday Wednesday-before-the-Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving traditional after-hours shopping event held at one of my friend's boutique, it was a huge success because everyone was safe, kind, and part of a group experience that evoked feelings of less disconnected & more hopeful!
Lessons learned personally & through attendee feedback include:
Come from a place of care and safety in the invitation and the overall event experience when you host something for 1-2 hours maximum, as keeping clear and brief in both your plan and the time keeps everyone from a sense of further "fatigue".
Ensure everyone knows the rules of engagement in regards to mask, how masks are worn, whether guests are welcome, and more with clear guidelines and communicate via phone, text and email what is expected ahead of time without apology or a sense of it won't be as good. You can even have a fun mask competition with a prize (we did, and it added to the positivity around the masks).
Greet everyone personally to be certain there is no miscommunication before someone is "in" the event.
Have a kind, professional, swift plan for if someone rejects or disrespects the guidelines.
Do not serve food and drink (I served mini bottles of water and champagne with straws to place under masks, and now do not recommend any food or drink to avoid confusion on keeping masks on).
Do not be disappointed, mad, or disrespectful when someone chooses not to participate from the start, or even close to last-minute (normally there is a 5-day cancellation consideration), if something happens regarding the pandemic cases and/or their comfort.
Be clear in any and all sharing of the event (before, during, after) that all guidelines were followed, without additional apology or explanation so the message is clear, concise and focused on positivity and gratitude.
Missing out fully may be your choice. Having a virtual option may be best. If you decide to host an in-person event, please consider safety over tradition and health over the desire to be unencumbered. No matter what you do, here's to health and happiness without any complications!