In this article you will learn how to restrict seat selection to comply with local social distancing rules by:

  1. Creating a social distancing ruleset for a chart
  2. Applying the ruleset to an event of the chart

Introducing Rulesets

In order to enforce social distancing, we will using Rulesets, which are sets of rules that determine whether a seat is selectable or not by the end user.

Creating a social distancing ruleset

Each chart can have its own rulesets that can be applied to their events.

To manage the rulesets for one chart, head to the Seating charts section of the web app, and right click a chart.

From the contextual menu, select Social distancing rulesets.

Note you can also access the rulesets manager from the toolbar of a chart.

Click on Create ruleset to create one, and then click on the ruleset you just created in order to edit it:

Defining rules

An Inspector on the left - akin to the inspector on the designer - allows to edit rules, and to preview them on the chart. In here you may edit the following properties:

  • Ruleset name, which is only used to refer to it internally.
  • Group layout: either "rule-based" or "fixed". Rule-based means that dynamic rules determine how many people can sit next to each other. In a fixed group layout, you indicate manually which seats should be left empty. When the ticket buyer clicks on a seat, all adjacent seats get selected as well.

In a rule-based group layout, you can configure the following rules:

  • Disabled seats to the sides: the number of seats to disable to the left and right of a selected seat.
  • Disable seats in front and behind: will disable the nearest seat on the row in front and behind the selected seat. On interlaced rows, two seats on the row ahead and behind will be disabled instead.
  • Disabled aisle seats: disables seats on each end of a row. Some seats can be manually opted out of this rule, as explained later in this article.
  • Enable maximum group size: if on, it will limit how many people can sit together, as long they are booking together.
  • Maximum group size: if group limits are enabled, you may define here how many people can sit together. For instance, if local rules allow couples to seat together, you can set this number to 2. Or if local rules allow families up to 5 to seat together, you can set this number to 5.

Preview your changes to see how it works

You can click on the chart to see how selecting a seat feel like. Your changes are reflected immediately.

Manually disable seats

Switch to the Manually disable seats mode to disable full rows or specific seats as required.

Manually enable seats

Switch to the Manually enable seats mode to enable certain seats, overriding aisle seats rules.

Save your changes

Once you are done, click on the Apply changes button on the bottom right - akin to event manager save buttons - to save your changes and allow you to safely leave the mode.

Apply the ruleset to an event in the chart

Now that the ruleset is created, you can apply it to events in the chart, thus restricting seat selection to comply with social distancing rules.

Applying to an existing event

Select one of your events on the left side of the chart details page, and then click on No social distancing to change this.

Select the ruleset you just created, and click on Confirm.

Now when selecting seats on this event, it will enforce the rules as defined in the ruleset.

Applying to a new event

When creating an event on a chart that already has rulesets created, you'll first see a dialog that allows to select one of the existing rulesets.

Note on editing rulesets already applied to events

Please note that, when editing a ruleset, clicking Apply changes on a ruleset that is already applied to some events will make those changes effective immediately.

Consider the consequences of relaxing rules on an event that is currently being sold, as more seats will become available. In some cases, creating a new ruleset for more relaxed rules might be a better solution.

Considerations when booking seats

When you book seats through our API, you'll need to send all seats from an order in a single call. If not, the booking call for some seats might fail because we enforce social distancing rules.

So instead of three calls to book A-1, A-2 and A-3, you'll need to send one call to book all of these seats in one go.

Embedding the social distancing tool in your backend

If you would like to allow your team or your customers to manage social distancing through your back office, you can embed our "chart manager" tool:

https://docs.seats.io/docs/chart-manager-introduction

That's all!

Of course if you have any questions or feel not all of your local rules can be accomplished with this tool, click the chat button on the bottom right corner and talk with us.

Stay safe!

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