Can the meetings in the industry finally start again? Compared to a month ago, the situation has certainly improved. In many countries of Europe and the rest of the world, almost all sectors of the economy are restarting. However, there are still many uncertainties regarding organizing a large outdoor event, a congress, or simply a meeting.
There is a general misalignment of approaches by each country: the size of usable spaces, the maximum number of participants, hygiene rules, and protocols to be respected vary considerably from country to country. Different approaches are mainly the result of the local Covid-19 epidemic trend.
So let’s try to clarify a bit. Here is a summary of the restart plans adopted by the main countries in the world affected by COVID-19.
In our country, conferences, congresses, large trade fairs, and company conferences are reopening despite the latest Government Dpcm established, starting from July 15, 2020. This is because the same ministerial decree gives individual regions the power to move with a certain autonomy. To know the situation in detail, it is essential to consult the ordinances issued by the regions’ governors. Health safety regulations of keeping social distance of one meter and the use of masks in closed places always remain in force (the speakers and moderators are the exceptions).
Like Italy, Germany is preparing for a careful opening of corporate events, fairs, and exhibitions, giving each region the possibility to define its calendar. For example, in Berlin, professional outdoor activities with a maximum of 500 participants are allowed from June 16.
Indoor commercial and private events with up to 150 attendees are allowed from the beginning of June. At the end of the month, indoor activities with a maximum of 300 participants will take place.
Events with more than 1,000 participants will remain prohibited until August 31, 2020. Larger events with more than 5,000 participants will remain prohibited until October 24, 2020.
Everyone will have to strictly adhere to the health safety protocols at the moment; however, they have not yet been published.
The major sporting and cultural events, festivals, and professional salons can be organized from June 22 with a maximum of 5000 participants. In September, this ceiling can probably be overcome, giving the green light to even larger events.
The first cities to benefit from the loosening of the lockdown were Barcelona and Madrid: from May 25, social gatherings with a maximum limit of 10 people were allowed. Cultural events involving less than 30 people can take place indoors as long as it is less than one-third of the capacity, while for outdoor activities, the limit rises to 200 people. The rule of the social distance of 2 meters always applies. In theory, by the end of June, the country should enter new normalcy, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, which was mentioned almost a month ago. At the moment, however, there are no further updates.
Internal and external meetings, fairs and congresses return with an approved risk prevention strategy. Until July 1 of 2020, it will be possible to organize events with a maximum of 100 people. After this date, the limit will rise to 250 people. From August 1, 2020, indoor activities with a maximum of 500 people and up to 1,000 people with a special prevention strategy will be possible. From August 1, 2020, up to 750 visitors will be admitted (up to 1,250 people, always with a special prevention strategy).
For all types of events granted, the following measures will be mandatory: one-meter social distancing and masks in public.
Greece, the European state that has best managed to control the pandemic, will give the go-ahead for concerts, conferences, and exhibitions from July, without any limitation. A specific health safety protocol will remain in force. However, no details are known yet.
A glimpse opens in Holland for the events business, from July 1. Group activities with a maximum of 100 participants will be allowed. The social distancing measures at 1.5 meters, and the respect of the usual hygiene rules remain in force. To organize meetings and meetings with large numbers of participants, you will have to wait until September.
The Government has decided to lift restrictions on major public events with over 500 participants, starting July 1. However, organizers will be asked to comply with special protocols: they will have to separate the public into sectors. It is also possible to organize public events with a number of participants between 50 and 500, as well as indoor activities.
Many organizers have asked for immediate changes to the current regulations, to be able to return to organizing events with over 500 participants if they take place outdoors and if the safety distance can be strengthened by dividing the public into sectors.
The debate on this is still open.
The UK continues not to utter a word about events, conferences and meetings. Everything is still stuck to the information released a month ago. On the other hand, from July 4, everyone will be able to get back their hair and beard cut… Also, in these days, Boris Johnson has announced a new rule: social distancing must be increased by one meter.
The United States, like Germany, sees a varied scenario of measures. In California, for example, major events can wait for the moment: they will only be able to restart in Phase 4. In Florida, the type of events granted is not specified, but the maximum limit of 50 people remains fixed. The same rule applies to Michigan (for indoor events and fewer than 250 people outdoors), Nevada, New Jersey, and Virginia.
From July 1, in Australia, the limit of 100 people for non-essential indoor meetings will be replaced with a less restrictive regulation. Each person must have around 4 square meters of space. Outdoor locations with a capacity of 40 thousand people will be able to reopen with no more than 25% for events with tickets and seats.
China was the first worldwide outbreak of Coronavirus and the country that adopted the most rigid lockdown ever. For some time now, all the limitations have expired. In particular, from the end of May, all types of events, congresses and conferences are admitted without limitations on the number of participants. However, the health safety protocols always remain in force, including social distancing, the use of masks, good ventilation of indoor locations, and the disinfection of the same.
These provisions are temporarily frozen for some areas of Beijing. Last week, authorities announced a critical number of new COVID-19 cases linked to the Xinfadi fish supermarket in the southern district of Fengtai. The wholesale market was closed immediately after being identified as the center of a new outbreak. As of last Monday, 21 residential communities, housing around 90,000 people, near Xinfadi and a second fish market in the Haidian district, where other Xinfadi-related cases have been confirmed, have been closed. Villagers have been ordered to quarantine themselves at home and be tested for the virus.
Japan has scheduled the reopening of events in June. Conferences or meetings organized in hotels or dedicated spaces are allowed with a maximum of 1000 participants. Social distancing and compliance with ordinary hygiene rules are strongly recommended.
Written by Beatrice Elerdini
Courtesy of MeetingeCongressi.com