Planning guidelines

In-person events

At this time, the federal and provincial health authorities have issued a directive discouraging all non-essential gatherings of any size. Therefore, all non-essential in-person university events will be cancelled until further notice, including off campus events. Where possible, virtual events are encouraged.

In the case of extenuating circumstances that require an in-person event on or off campus during this time, a request may be submitted to describing the event, why an in-person event is deemed necessary, and the measures that will be taken to mitigate risk and comply with health authority directives.

The ability to hold in-person meetings/events is determined by the appropriate VP depending on the nature of the activity:

  • VPFA makes decisions about when to accept/engage commercial activities on campus (i.e. filming, in-person events, etc.), and has final approval authority over events open to the public that are not integral to the mandate of another portfolio.
  • VPER and VPAA make decisions about when to resume and how to modify events, performances, and community engagement activities in their portfolios. 

In-person events must comply with the SFU COVID-19 Plans, Protocols and Guidelines outlined in the SFU COVID-19 Go-Forward Plan.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your meeting or event please refer to the FAQs or email


Virtual events

  • Turn your event into a livestream, webinar or other virtual event format.
  • Visit our Events Toolkit for resources on planning virtual events.
  • SFU IT Services recommends the following platforms:
  • When choosing a platform consider audience participation and accessibility. If using a platform not listed above, please contact IT Services to assess privacy and technology considerations. 
  • If using Zoom or Hopin, please contact MECS Virtual at for assistance with your virtual event in Zoom or Hopin.


Cancelling or postponing an in-person event or meeting

Event Cancellation checklist

  • Notify the venue, caterers and other internal/external service providers
  • Notify all invitees as well as registrants 
  • Notify guest speakers, emcees, Indigenous Elders and all other participants
  • Mark your event as "cancelled" in the SFU Events calendar via Livewhale (How-to)
  • Consider placing a sign at the venue in case guests show up day-of

COVID-19 and the Force Majeure clause

  • When considering event cancellations, event planners should check the contracts they have with venues, contractors and artists to see if it contains a force majeure clause or provision. A force majeure event refers to the occurrence of an event which is outside the reasonable control of a party and which prevents that party from performing its obligations under a contract. COVID-19, as a global pandemic, meets the definition of force majeure. It should therefore, be possible to release yourself from the terms of the contract in this situation. Each contract may have a slightly different definition of force majeure however, so it is good to review your contract closely, and then contact your venue or vendor to discuss further.

Post-event (in-person)

  • If advised after an in-person event or meeting that someone has fallen ill, the organizer should coordinate a response with SFU Communications and Marketing. 
  • If notified of possible COVID-19 exposure at one of your events, please advise your supervisor immediately.
  • Students, faculty, or staff who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing should self-isolate for 14 days after their last encounter. Individuals should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing).
  • More information on self-isolation from the BC Centre for Disease Control.


Planning a future event

  • Event planners who have events with longer planning timelines will need to make special considerations as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
  • At this time, event planners should continue to plan events online, unless they are limited one-time, small, essential and approved in-person events or ceremonies (faculty and staff only) with an approved safety plan.
  • Plan for possible cancellation, postponement or an alternative online format. 
  • Confirm with venue and caterers that event cancellation is possible due to extenuating circumstances.
  • A full safety plan will need to be prepared by the event organizer/host in order to ensure the necessary event safety protocols and risk mitigation strategies are followed. If you are planning a more elaborate event, please contact MECS and refer to our COVID-19 In-Person Events Checklist.
  • Provide clear communication and signage to participants on how to protect themselves and others during the event to reduce virus transmission.
  • Everyone who visits any SFU campus should safely and effectively wear a non-medical mask in all indoor public areas. Public areas include building entryways and atriums, hallways, stairwells, washrooms, and study areas. Those who are not able to wear a mask for medical or other reasons, should be especially careful to maintain a safe distance.
  • If the in-person meeting, event, or ceremony is being held off campus, the gathering must still obtain approval from the appropriate VP and comply with the SFU COVID-19 Plans, Protocols and Guidelines outlined in the SFU COVID-19 Go-Forward Plan.
This page will be reviewed and updated regularly. Last updated on Wed, 05 May 2021 11:00 AM