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Hosting HCP Meal Events in the Covid-19 Era

Dinner meetings haven’t stopped, but there are complicating factors that planners must address.

On the heels of an early-September study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that found adults with Covid-19 infection were nearly twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant within 14 days of diagnosis versus those who tested negative, the issue of how lunch and dinner meetings with HCPs can safely take place during the pandemic has moved front and center.

Laura Konwinski, senior director of global compliance for BCD Meetings & Events, says that pharma and medical-device firms “can still do lunch and dinner meetings, but the process is hyper-local right now. In areas where the infection numbers are trending lower, we are able to get up to 10 HCPs at a time to come together. But these are now set up very last-minute because reps have to see what each local situation is. As a result, reps with a three- or four-state territory are not going to go through their usual cycle of cities in just a few months like they used to. Now they are going to come up with a program for a given location maybe a week in advance; it is going to be a one-off thing here and there as the situation allows.”

Cs1020LauraKonwinski.pngFurther, HCPs who are invited to meal events should be informed ahead of time about the safety protocols that will be used on site, such as masking of all participants and restaurant staff; whether it will be a pre-plated event or a buffet with staff who serve food onto attendees’ plates from behind clear partitions; and other such details.

Even with all of the uncertainty around the in-person meeting environment, Konwinski (pictured here) says that company reps are seeing good attendance, noting that “these events are important for improving people’s health and saving lives.”

Konwinski will be a featured presenter for an upcoming MeetingsNet webinar titled The Return to F2F: Considerations Before You Head Back On Site, on Thursday, October 15 at 2 p.m. ET. Click here for more info.

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