Social Distancing Tools

OnePlan’s Paul Foster introduces his calculators for delivering socially distanced events.

Social distancing statuesIn any other year, summer festival season in the UK would be in full swing. However, the current government regulations to control the spread of Covid-19, while essential for the wellbeing and safety of country, have had an unprecedented impact on the industry. Until a viable and adopted track and trace system is in place, or Covid-19 infections are eradicated (as in the case of New Zealand), some level of social distancing is going to be required, but this doesn’t mean that festivals and concerts cannot take place.

Social distancing will be highly challenging to implement in many scenarios and will be largely reliant on the good will of attendees to follow direction and comply with the guidance given. Reducing the likelihood and frequency of close social interaction is certainly achievable. This is no different to other risk areas, where it is often impossible to eliminate a risk but achievable to manage it.

As the developers of event planning systems, here at OnePlan we have been helping festival organisers to plan effectively, accurately and reduce the risks presented by the current pandemic, from when festivalgoers arrive at the venue, during performances, right until the last person leaves the site. Certainly, there are precautions and warnings that should be taken prior to attending; reminding people not to attend if feeling unwell, asking attendees to check their temperature leading up to the event. It is also advised to offer those who do show symptoms a full refund, although this is to be determined as the organiser sees fit. Yet, following the adherence of this, festivals may operate in almost-full swing.

Our guidance on festival safety begins at the gates. The arrival calculator enables users to add as many entrances as required for their event, as well as the time people are expected to arrive, per minute. The width of the entrance can be inputted and any social distancing requirements necessary, to provide an estimate of both queue time and the amount of space needed to hold your queues. By breaking down the arrivals into 15 minute blocks, the expected flow rate is calculated to provide an accurate estimate of the space required.

Temperature checks at arrival points are being considered by many organisers and venues. Where possible, do not add an additional process at your entry point; one queue for temperature check, security check and ticket scanning. As an example, the temperature check could be undertaken by someone moving along the queue for the security check or combine the ticket and temperature check at the same point.

There are other factors to be considered, such as what to do if someone displays a high temperature and how will people react around them? This should be carefully considered.

App for social distancing planningCrowd calculation
Once festivalgoers are safely through security and the ticket check, social distancing should be maintained where possible with mitigations focusing on high risk areas such as toilets, concession queues and any pinch points around the site. We have developed a social distancing crowd calculator which enables users to measure any area and calculate how many people could fit in a space whilst maintaining a set distance between each person. Users have the ability to change social distancing measurements, from a list of set metric and imperial measurements. This can be changed at any time and a new area capacity will be immediately generated.

The in-plan crowd and social distancing calculator can be used for different stages and areas. In-and-out times can also be entered, meaning that different calculations for areas can be adjusted as crowd numbers fluctuate throughout the day. With this tool, organisers can prepare for a larger crowd at one time, whilst ensuring distancing is still upheld in a given area.

The queue measurement tool can be used at concessions, food and bar stalls and public toilets. Essentially, these tools provide an indicative maximum of the number of people that can safely be in any area or queue. This can be reduced using an instant re-run of the queue or area tool with distancing measurements changed. This will further decrease risk and ensure festivalgoers feel at ease and safe throughout the event.

An exit and egress calculator ensures that safety comes first from the event’s start to finish. The calculator enables users to input all festival exits, their width and the number of expected people per minute to use the exit. Input any social distancing measures necessary and the calculator immediately shows the number of people able to exit through the space in 20, 15, 10 and 5 minute blocks. With the ability to instantly rerun the model with different distancing measurements, this tool provides essential guidance for organisers. Different arrangements are advised to be made in case of an emergency, in which case social distancing becomes secondary to public safety.


Paul FosterPaul Foster is the founder of OnePlan, a centralised event site planning platform that allows anyone to map, draw, plan and procure every aspect of their event site and operations. OnePlan’s software includes space planning and measurement tools allowing users to generate consistent professional plans to share with stakeholders and clients. Visit for more information and a 14 day free trial.


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