Ensure the safety of your customers and staff at your Christmas grotto event this winter with these top 10 tips from Keycraft.
1. Constant cleaning and handwashing procedures
We’re all in the swing of things with this “new normal” and as a customer, we expect to see hand gel stations, plastic screens and extra handwashing facilities at shops, events and venues. Apply the same safety measures to your grotto as you would expect for people entering your store. Some key items to consider are;
- Hand sanitiser stations
- Plastic screens
- Extra handwashing facilities
- Temperature checks
- Face coverings such as masks to visors
You could also highlight these extra safety measures in your emails, leaflets and posters to ensure people understand you are ensuring the event is safe. Further to this, you may wish to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in line with the HSE guidelines, just as you would for your store.
2. Utilise a booking system
As mentioned in our previous blog, “Retailers 10 most common Christmas grotto questions”; taking bookings in advance is a good way to tell if you need to scale up or scale down your event. Further to this, it will allow you to ensure no overcrowding as families can book their timeslot online.
3. Create a safe queuing system
Upon entry remember to put up some signage beside your hand sanitiser station with key information about keeping safe within the venue. For example, you may wish to limit the number of families in the queue or have a waiting system outdoors. Perhaps you could have a waiting system whereby they receive a number upon entry and when their number is called – they can enter. Think about what will work best for your venue and cause the least frustration or confusion.
Make your queuing system easy to follow by placing clear floor markers down and remember to ensure the elves or any other helpers understand how to keep guests at a safe distance.
Another idea may be to host the event outdoors if you have a suitable covered area.
4. Develop hygiene procedures between guests
Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces between guests, focussing on surfaces that are touched regularly. This may include; door handles, queue barrier, grotto furniture and props.
Ensure there is clear guidance on the use and cleaning of any toilet facilities, and you may wish to include signage to encourage people to follow the guidance on handwashing from the NHS.
5. Let customers know gifts are wrapped in advance and stored for 48 hours
As part of your advertising, you may wish to let your customers know that the grotto gifts are wrapped and stored in advance of the event and that contact with staff has been minimal. Where possible, operate a contact-free gift collection or post the gifts to the recipients.
(Psst. Our elves offer a gift-wrapping and drop-ship service to all Keycraft customers!)
6. Face coverings
Ask customers to wear face masks throughout the event, or for parts if some of your event is hosted outdoors. An example of this can be found in Disney World, Florida, where guests must wear a face covering at all times. Staff can wear face masks or visors - is there a way to make them a bit more Christmassy? Check out this Santa training company in London who have made special face masks for their Father Christmas's in training.
7. Make sure Santa knows how to answer
Ensure Father Christmas has been well versed in how respond when children ask questions such as; “Why are you wearing a face mask”, “Does Rudolph have to wear a face mask?" or "Will you still come if there is a lockdown?" Chat with family and friends to see what questions children have asked so far throughout the pandemic to see if you can get any ideas as to what may pop up.
8. Make it fun
Wearing a face mask at a Christmas grotto may feel a bit strange to a child, so try to think of ways to make it fun. Why not hand out a competition to design a face mask for Santa? Entries could be emailed in at a later date, or alternatively you could include a small pencil pack with each grotto gift to enter on the day.
If your budget allowed you to do so, you could include a face mask as part of the grotto gift.
9. Seat the children at a safe distance
The children would normally get to sit on Santa’s knee but this may not be possible due to social distancing guidelines. You could set up a special seat for the children, it could be a red sofa, a seat covered in cosy blankets or if your budget allows – perhaps a Christmas throne! Try to make it as special as possible so that when they are disappointed to not sit on Santa’s knee, they get to sit on this even better – awesome – Christmas chair instead!
Remember to ensure parents know where to stand and wait too so that social distancing can be adhered to at all times!
10. Keep elves or entertainers at a distance
Under normal circumstances the elves chat to the children when waiting in line, however, this might not be possible. Instead, could the elves put on a mini show as the children wait? Or perhaps you could employ a children’s entertainer such as a balloon artist, magician or carol singer(s) to entertain the families whilst they wait.