December 29, 2020
Happy New Year! We can finally bid farewell to 2020 – and what a year it has been! Before we talk about 2021 and all of the positivity that we’re feeling towards the fledgeling new year, let’s take a little time to reflect on 2020; a year that may have started off just like any other, but an ordinary year it was certainly not to be!
A Happy New Year 2020? To start with perhaps
In late 2019 and in the early part of the 2020 we heard rumblings about some kind of respiratory illness breaking out in China – Coronavirus? Is that what it was called? Nothing for us to worry about though. China seemed a long way away from the UK back then didn’t it?
But then February brought word of infections in Italy. Before we knew it there were cases reported across the rest of Europe too. Lots of cases in lots of different countries. Suddenly, there was talk of lockdowns for our continental neighbours. And come late March we had a lockdown of our own to contend with.
Suddenly the world seemed a smaller place. A more dangerous place. COVID-19, that was what they were calling it now. Don’t go out unless you absolutely have to. Wear facemasks if you do go out. Panic buying, empty supermarket shelves – no loo roll! Constant hand washing. No seeing family and friends. Shops closed, restaurants temporarily shut down. No cinemas, theatres, organised sports… and then, terror of terrors, home-schooling.
Parents. Is there a more terrifying turn of phrase than ‘home-schooling’?
The events industry goes into hiatus
Worst of all there was no timeline for recovery to work towards. COVID-19 was an unknown, fast moving, deadly and with no vaccine. Public health had to be the number one priority, but the economy was suffering, and the events industry was on its knees.
Many of our industry friends and partners desperately sought to find ways to diversify. Adapt and survive was the order of the day – the order of the year…
But adapting in an industry designed to bring people together was never going to be easy. We’ve seen caterers offering fine dining experiences delivered to your door. Bar suppliers creating cocktail boxes for home delivery – complete with fun online tutorial videos. Online parties and virtual events made high-end and delivered via platforms such as Zoom and Skype.
It hasn’t been easy, but those that have found a way to adapt have worked very hard to do so. They’re hanging on in there, some dangling by their fingernails but determined to make it through this crisis and emerge stronger in 2021.
Sadly ours is an industry that was never likely to emerge entirely unscathed. We’ve seen a few industry partners permanently close their doors over the course of 2020. Good, hard working folks with well established and highly respected businesses, devastated by the rapidity and severity of COVID-19 prevention measures.
Here’s to those still fighting the good fight, keep up the good work and we look forward to working with you in 2021. And to those whose businesses may not have made it through the storm; don’t give up, it might be tough but get back in the saddle and rebuild. We look forward to seeing some familiar faces in new roles and to supporting them in their new ventures over the coming 12 months.
The events world supports the NHS
In early to mid 2020 we, along with many other members of Surrey and south east England’s events community, became involved with programmes designed to support the NHS and other health and welfare organisations during this time of crisis.
For us, it was amazing to be a part of the Surrey Drive movement, providing thousands of hot meals to key NHS workers at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford. But most of all, it was inspiring to see so many members of the events industry out there helping, whilst their own businesses – their very livelihoods – were under threat.
What a kind, caring and resourceful industry we are part of!
Here’s to a fantastic 2021!
With vaccination programmes now being rolled out across the world, it seems that there may well be a light at the tunnel after all. We’ve all adapted amazingly well, and if there’s a winner to emerge from all this madness then it would have to be community spirit.
People across the UK (across the globe in fact) have pulled together to support one another and to fight the global pandemic. It’s been tough, but it’s been encouraging to see just how far one human being is willing to go to help another during a time of crisis.
We’re hoping that 2021 will indeed be a happy new year. It’s very possible that weddings, parties and events will be viable again by the summer. We’re sure that lots of people will be ready and excited to get together with family, friends and loved ones for some post COVID partying.
Perhaps a ‘new normal’ will emerge. Until the COVID-19 threat has been neutralised, we’ll need to ensure that our events and gatherings – large and small, are safe. We’ve learned a lot of the course of 2020 and we have a number of COVID safe solutions ready for those keen to get together safely in 2021.
So, in summary:
2020 – what a year! And we’ve not even mentioned Brexit, or the end of the Trump era in this blog…
We can’t wait to wave goodbye to 2020. A new year always feels full of possibilities. Anything could happen; after all, on January 1st 2020, who would have thought that wearing a facemask in public would end up feeling normal?
Happy New Year everybody! Here’s to an outstanding 2021.