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Posted by on Nov 30th 2020

social distancing event

Safe Social Distancing & Event Seating Plans

The pandemic is certainly the most impactful event that occurred in 2020. It’s become difficult to host business events and wedding receptions, let alone a simple birthday party. In 2021, we can expect that events will still be limited and that social distancing will still be encouraged. Even if government mandates aren’t prohibiting events, there may still be people who are too cautious to go to bigger events. How can you help your guests feel safe? Keep reading to learn what you should do to prepare for these events and the types of seating plans to consider.

How to Prepare for Safe Eventsman in mask at an event

Know Your Local Government Mandates & Coronavirus Statistics

In the state of Utah, government restriction has been minimal compared to other states. However, the level of restriction has fluctuated as the risk of getting COVID-19 has gone up or down. These restrictions can change at any moment, so it’s best to keep an eye on the local statistics. Those statistics are easily available on the Utah government’s coronavirus website. Make sure to pay close attention to these statistics and any current restrictions in place especially during the days leading up to your event. This way, you can pivot your event to a Plan B if needed.

Make Sure Everyone Knows the Expectations Before They Come

When sending out invitations for your event, make sure to let guests know of the social distancing rules that will be implemented. Will masks be required? Will you be asking guests who show certain symptoms to stay home and not attend? For guests paying to come to the event, what is the refund policy for those unable to attend due to illness? To help you plan for the number of people who will be attending, it may be wise to require an RSVP from your guests.

Have a Sign-In Station Complete with Hand Sanitizer and Masks

Most weddings have a sign-in station so that guests can wish the bride and groom a happy marriage. Likewise, we suggest that all events have a sign-in station. These can be used for multiple purposes—doubling as fun lotteries for business events and a record to look back on later on. A record will prove valuable if guests need to be contacted after attending the event.

Have Safe Seating Arrangements

social distancing event

While there are many different options, here are our top five social distancing-friendly seating plans:


In Utah, wedding receptions typically tend to be more of an open house-style where RSVPs aren’t always required. In the age of social distancing, we strongly encourage requiring RSVPs. These will help you make sure that households are seated together.

wedding reception seating plan

We think that the perfect reception seating arrangement would be a combination of large and small tables. Large tables would be for the wedding party and families. Small tables would be for small groups and those who may have forgotten to RSVP. All tables should have cards indicating who should be seated there. Non-RSVP tables can have blank cards so that incoming guests can write their names on them.



entertainment event seating plan

Whether it’s a play, band, or comedian on stage, guests need to be able to enjoy the environment without being too occupied with the stress of staying socially distant. The best entertainment seating plan that limits this stress would be small tables spread out in front of the stage with two to three chairs per table. This allows couples and small groups of friends to do something they enjoy together, but in a worry-free atmosphere.


Lecture & Panel-Style Conferences

Silicon Slopes and Salt Lake City have been home bases for many conferences in the past. A popular conference style has been focused around panelists.

conference seating plans

In this model, multiple thought leaders are gathered together to talk about a subject and answer questions from the audience. Even with the pandemic, this can still happen! You would simply need to have long tables facing the panelists. Your audience would be seated two to a table, and the panelists would each be seated at their own smaller tables in front. All tables should be spaced six feet apart.


Interactive Conferences

One of the most attractive parts of conferences in the past has been the amount of interaction and networking that can be done.

conference seating plan

While that may still be limited moving forward, there is a way to make a socially distant conference interactive. You would simply set up the tables so that one side of the room faces the other. All tables would be six feet apart, of course, and have two to a table. The main speaker of the event could use the aisle between the two sections to walk around and talk. This format would be perfect for conferences that encourage a lot of audience participation.

Public Speaking Events

Another big factor of big business events are public speakers. Companies like Qualtrics often put on huge annual summits where they have speakers like Oprah, Michelle Obama, and other big names come and speak to their audiences.

public speaking event seating plan

Such speakers typically speak to hundreds of people at once. It will probably be a little while longer before we get back to doing public speaking events in the same way as we have been, but they can still happen. Have a stage for the speaker with chairs set out in front. Make sure to space out your guests by physically distancing the chairs or roping off certain sections of seating.


Social Distancing Events Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful!

At All Out Event Rental, we completely sanitize our rental products between uses. Whatever you may need for your safe social distancing event, we have it! Helping you pull off a great memorable event—no matter the circumstance—is our top priority! Give us a call at (801) 988-6288 and make sure to browse through our products.

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