What do you need to know to organize onsite events safely by respecting all Coronavirus containment rules…
This is the main topic among professionals and not: onsite events in safety in the time of Covid-19 are still possible? Of course! Let’s see together how.
Covid-19, meeting industry and travels
The Covid-19 has been representing till now the hardest challenge the travel and events sector has ever faced up today. The lockdown completely blocked it for months, standing up has not been easy because of several restrictions to be dealt with. Just think about new rules for traveling, the ban on gathering, the social distancing.
Nevertheless, all main associations such as Federcongressi &eventi played a very important role to show the authorities the basic points to be developed to allow the meeting industry to start again working with events granting a high level of safety.
As a consequence of this great job, Federcongressi presented in April to the Government a protocol with a complete guideline for the management of meetings and congress spaces. It was a summary document, with a list of hygiene and sanitary regulations to contain the Covid-19.
Here it was the goal: finally having a document explaining how to face the sanitary emergency and how to implement the hygienical regulations.
The action by Federcongressi delegates on regional authorities has achieved its own results.
Reopening of the meeting industry
The meeting sector, initially not considered in the reopening activities, was included in the Guidelines for the reopening of the Economic and Productive Activities approved by the Conference of the Regions. Approved on the 9th of June, this document incorporates the guidelines already proposed in April.
The law decrees on the 15th June and the 14th July stopped the reopening of the meeting industry, fixing the suspension of fairs and congresses until mid-July and then until the 31st July. However, the government left the regions free to anticipate this date based on the local epidemiological situation and the size of the exhibition and congress spaces.
So, 15 Regions issued ordinances implementing the Guidelines for the reopening of Economic and Productive Activities and anticipated the opening of the meeting industry since mid-June. Forerunners were Sicily and Campania, closely followed by the other central-southern regions and, to the north, by Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. Lombardy itself, the district most affected by Covid-19, has decided to reopen at the meetings on the 1st July. Finally, the law decree on the 31st of July set the date of reopening for events and congresses on the 15th of August, while stressing the importance of strict control to avoid any epidemiological fallout.
Hotels and congress centers at the time of Covid – 19
The reopening of the meeting industry in almost all the Italian districts gave professionals a very positive sign. The application of the Guidelines allowed them to get back to work by guaranteeing guests to meet in safety.
We see below the main rules for meetings and events:
Measurement of participants’ temperature or fulfillment of a self-certification at the arrival in the hotel or the congress center. It is forbidden access to those with a temperature above 37.5 ° C or other symptoms of Coronavirus (cough, respiratory difficulty).
Wearing the mask inside closed spaces and in all common areas, especially where it is not possible to keep a distance of 1 meter from other people. Washing frequently hands with soap or sanitizing gel (prepared by the structures in all common areas).
Keeping 1-meter distance in the meeting rooms, with a review of the capacity of the rooms and special fittings, and in the common areas (foyers, restaurants, halls, elevators) through dedicated signs and a different organization of services.
Tracking of participants and their contacts during the event.
Specific measures for sanitizing rooms, meeting rooms, and common areas, with particular attention to the surfaces with frequent contact (lift keyboards, handles). Extraordinary cleaning of shared-use equipment (microphones, PCs).
Frequent ventilation of common areas, as natural as possible. Installation of air conditioning systems equipped with special certified filters for cleaning the air.
Reorganization of restaurant services to favor the served menù and avoid self-service, from breakfast to coffee breaks, through the use of single portions or the service by the staff (equipped with all PPE). Even the restaurants provide extraordinary sanitization and cleaning protocols for the rooms and the dishes.
Emergency procedures in the event of a positive to Covid-19 person with spaces used for the isolation and personnel equipped with PPE and trained to manage the situation with the competent authorities.
Traveling at the time of Covid – 19
As the accommodation, the transport sector also had to undertake a series of interventions to allow passengers to travel safely.
The airports revised their procedures and implemented the signs to avoid gatherings in areas such as check-ins and gates, and to keep the distance at controls and in waiting rooms. There are thermoscanners to monitor the passengers’ temperature and dispensers of sanitizing gel. Besides, passengers must wear a mask, and access to the airport is forbidden to people not leaving. Onboard, firstly authorities proposed to occupy only half of the seats to alternate passengers and keep distances. But, it would be an anti-economic measure for air companies, which are facing a severe crisis because of Covid-19. So, airlines managed to obtain permission to travel at full occupation, installing the Hepa filters for air conditioning, which guarantee sterility of 99.97%, and making passengers wear a mask.
Even the railway and bus stations had to reorganize themselves to ensure social distancing with the creation of differentiated entry and exit routes through signs and a quota of access to the track area. Wearing masks and gloves, and disinfect the hands often are still mandatory. Onboard the trains, companies reduced the number of seats to alternate the passengers and keep the distance of 1 meter, suspended the onboard restaurant service, and introduced extraordinary sanitation and cleaning protocols.
Live events safely. The meeting industry is ready
In addition to the anti-COVID protocols, a positive step towards the safe reopening of the meetings are the new insurance policies, born from the need to adapt to a new reality. We will talk about this in one of our next articles.
The meeting industry including hotels, restaurants, and transports has clearly demonstrated to be ready to react to this new situation with their efficiency to implement health and hygiene indications set by the authorities.
Italy is ready to come back to organize events, meetings, and travels so as to discover together great the value of the face-to-face relationship with safety.