This post is mostly for those people that are considering doing arts and craft events this Winter/Spring, but are worried about the pandemic. I slept in my van for out of town shows.
This is a crude shot of my van one night at an out of town show. It’s really hard to see it all, but I have a twin bed with an electric blanket, a cooler, a small (and as it turns out completely useless and unneeded) space heater, a bag of clothes, and a toilet (behind the front passenger seat). It was a tight fit, but kept me warm and saved on hotel fees.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but it is VERY unlikely we will see any large events in the Atlanta area before summer. Honestly, I worry if we will have any then. Thankfully some events are still being allowed. I was lucky to get to to participate in a few in the fall of 2020. This is how I handled them: First and foremost, I only participated in outdoor events. The three different event coordinators that I worked with also set up their layouts so that there was extra breathing room between tents as well.
I wore not one but two face masks all day. I had an N95 type mask with a handmade cloth one over it. Was it overboard? Maybe, but it gave me a sense of security. One of the events was 8 hours. That was a long time to wear a mask, but I got used to it very quickly. I have asthma and I was able to breathe just fine with two masks on.
All the events required both artists and customers to wear masks. Most followed the rules. The exception to that was an event in Alabama where maybe only 50% of each actually did.
I have avoided public restrooms during the pandemic. I’m lucky to have a mini van that I’ve been able to set up to meet my different needs. And one of those needs is setting up a toilet in the back to use when nature calls. Also, one of the events I participated in gave me plenty of space behind my tent. So I set up a hunting blind there and put a toilet in it.
I eventually changed my layout to keep people from entering my booth at all and to allow me to create space between myself and shoppers. I kept hand sanitizers on hand at all times and where possible I had soap and a solar shower to wash my hands. My credit card processing system has a “no signature required” feature for orders under $50 and I had customers insert their own cards.
When I did an out of town show, I again took advantage of my minivan and used it as a camper to sleep in. This both saved money and kept me out of hotels which don’t feel safe to me at the moment. And there you have it. Those are the steps I took to stay safe while still trying to work and earn money in a pandemic.
So a quick recap:
- Outdoor only events
- Wear a mask (or two)
- Avoid public bathrooms (where and when possible)
- Set layout up to keep people out of the booth and create social distancing
- Lots of hand sanitizer
- No signature on the credit card reader
- No hotels, car sleeping only
I hope we’ll be back to some form of normalcy at some point in 2021, but until then, please stay safe and make decisions based on what you feel comfortable with.
‘til next time,
Once I know where I’ll be showing, I’ll update my website.
Hopefully we’ll have more information as to where we’re heading in 2021, but for now check out our last post that has some hint to our future as a business.