For your three main meals of the day, they are typically being served in your venue's dining facility. All of your guests are going to funnel through the same entrance and through the same serving procedure; allowing you to manage sanitization and cleanliness. Your venue may already have hand sanitization stations setup, but if not encourage your guests to wash their hands or use sanitizer before entering.
You will notice your venue has probably also implemented frequent cleaning of hot spots (common points of contact) such as serving utensils; the venue may have opted to serving the guests instead, so they do not touch anything but their own plate or tray.
The final common touch area are the dining tables, and again, most venues will be wiping down tables between guests however if they are not this is great task for your event Operations or Volunteer team.
Now let's talk snacks. This area is not so easy to keep sterilization refined. Whether it's a coffee bar, meeting room snack table, or a reception with finger foods, the premise is the same - set it up and allow guests to graze at their convenience over time.
Individually Packaged Snacks
Pro: Foods like cookies, ice cream, and even veggie sticks can be bought prepackaged. This is easy to set up and keep stocked. You also don't mess with plates or utensils, and limit spills. Just make sure there are enough trash cans around to throw away the wrappers.
Con:This isn't the most cost-effective measure. Excess packaging also means more waste, so it's not the greenest option. Also packaged snacks can be used in casual settings but would not fit well into a formal event.
Pro: You could opt for a handful of gloved volunteers either serving at the snack table or walking around distributing to each guest. This removes any hot spots for spread. This idea of serving can also be a more detailed and welcomed option for formal events.
Con: You're either paying the venue to serve or you're recruiting volunteers to do so. As a planner you'll also have to actually carve out a time for this snack to happen; eliminating the grazing option for guests to come and go as they please.
But with all those hot spots what can we do to be proactive in preventing spread?
Hand Sanitization Station
Pro:The most important way to keep food and people healthy is by keeping hands clean. Not everyone may have had the chance to wash their hands before heading over to the snack table, especially if it is their second trip. Putting hand sanitizer at the front of the line quickly allows and encourages guests to clean their hands before touching hot spots.
Con: You're leaving the responsibility to sanitize and not spread germs to the guest. Providing hand sanitizer is also an extra cost and needs to be monitored for refills.